New Zealand wine exports were worth €814 million in the year to June 2015, up 7% in value over 2014’s €760,000 figure. This means that wine has become New Zealand’s sixth-largest export commodity by value.
And the country’s most valuable overeas customer has also changed in the last 12 months.
The New Zealand Wine Growers’ most recent Annual Report shows that its neighbour, Australia, has been overtaken by the US as the most valuable market for NZ wines.
According to its 2015 report, the US, at €212 million (NZ$372 million or US$237 million) tops New Zealand wines’ export market, overtaking Oz which now imports €207 million or NZ$362m.
While sales to Australian fell slightly, US and UK sales grew by over 10%. At €202 million or £148 million (NZ$354m) the UK is New Zealand’s third most-valuable market and together, the US, Oz and the UK represent three-quarters of all New Zealand’s wine exports at €622 million (NZ$1.0881bn).
However here in Ireland, consumers by no means avoid these wines. Retaining a constant ninth place in our affections when it comes to wine export destination, Ireland has proved itself very important to New Zealand wines, responsible for over €10 million-worth of direct sales not counting the volumes of New Zealand wine shipped across to importers here from the UK.
New Zealand wines in Ireland
According to the New Zealand Wine Growers Annual Report for 2015, the year saw direct case sales of 278,000 cases worth over €10 million, up 13.5% in volume from 2014’s 246 million case figure and showing an increase in value here of 6.8% from €9.4 million in 2014.
Naturally, white wine dominated New Zealand’s sales here. White wine – mostly Sauv Blanc – sold 263,111 cases (up from 2014’s 226,666m cases) worth €9.3 million (up from €8.4m) to NZ’s red which shifted just 13,900 cases (down from 2014’s 19,000 cases) worth €630,000 (down from 2014’s €915,000).
This put the average price per litre of white at €3.93 before excise & VAT – but this is down from 2014’s €4.12 and that for red at €5.11 is down from 2014’s €5.47.
This price decline in New Zealand wine can partially be put down to the growth in the number of producers exporting.
Nevertheless, New Zealand whites can still fetch a fairly premium price, mostly thanks to its outstanding reputation for Suav Blanc.
It’s hard to separate New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc these days, but it was Bill & Ross Spence, founders of Matua who first put them together back in 1969, producing the first bottles of Matua in 1974 an old tin shed which they’d rented.
At Matua they capture the true essence of the grape and don’t just consider how a wine critic thinks it ought to taste – not that they’ve minded.
The real New Zealand says ‘yes’ when everyone else says ‘no’. This attitude, this passion, is how they came to plant Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand before anyone else. It’s how they made wines out of things people didn’t even think would grow.
Matua has become one of New Zealand’s most decorated wine brands winning hundreds of trophies and medals over the years: recently, Matua was named IWSC’s 2012 New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year and in 2013 local winemaker Nikolai St George was named Winemaker of the Year at the Royal Easter Show.
The pioneering spirit that introduced the world to what is one of the most popular wine styles today has not diminished in the 40 years since. Offering a fresh contemporary new look in recent years, the introduction to Ireland of its innovative Lands & Legends range and the release later in 2015 of its Single Vineyard collection marks Matua out as one of the foremost New Zealand wine brands available on Irish shelves.
Matua is distributed in Ireland by Findlater Wine and Spirit Group.
One of the pioneers of the Marlborough wine industry, Hunter’s Wines are one of New Zealand’s best-known family-owned wineries.
When Ernie Hunter arrived in New Zealand Marlborough had not even been considered as a potential wine growing region.
The ever-enthusiastic Irishman purchased farming land in Blenheim and planted Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Müller Thurgau, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and of course, Sauvignon Blanc. But only five years after producing his first six award-winning wines (the first six Hunter’s Wines to emerge) Ernie was tragically killed in a motor accident.
The company is now headed by Jane Hunter. Some 30 years on, Jane is the most-awarded woman in the New Zealand wine industry with an impressive set of accolades including an OBE and an Honorary Doctorate of Science. Jane is backed by a great team and three generations of family.
After winning immediate acclaim in 1986 at the London Sunday Times Wine Festival with the 1985 Fumé Blanc, Hunter’s Wines now boasts over 185 gold medals, more than 30 trophies and innumerable international awards and accolades. Today Hunter’s wines still break new ground.
Still 100% family owned, new varietals, new wine-making techniques and new branding constantly keeps the team at Hunter’s seeking the best for its wines and continuing their commitment to Hunter’s philosophy of ‘Quality not Quantity’.
Sauvignon Blanc: Classically Marlborough, it has a very refreshing multilayered palate of citrus and tropical fruits. These flavours and aromas leave a fresh lingering finish on the palate making it a full satisfying wine with balanced acidity.
Pinot Noir: Rich ripe plum, berry and subtle forest floor aromas marry together for a smooth medium-bodied Pinot Noir. The palate shows persistent rich flavours and mild spicy oak making an enjoyable and easy drinking wine.