Winewatch: New Zealand

Our September Winewatch reviews the market here for New Zealand wines.

The UK has joined the US which last year topped Australia for imports of New Zealand wines in years gone by, according to the New Zealand Winegrower’s 2016 Annual Report.

And New Zealand’s wine industry is well on track to reach its export target of $2 billion (€1.31bn) by 2020, according to the Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers Steve Green.

In its Annual Report New Zealand’s wine exports have risen 10% in the last year to just under $1.6 billion (€1.05bn), the 21st consecutive year that the industry has experienced significant export growth.

“The ongoing progress towards the $2 billion goal is founded on our reputation as a wine exporter of the first rank, known for crafting and marketing distinctively New Zealand, high quality, high value wines,” said Steve Green, “This continued strong performance is testament to underlying market and consumer demand for our wines in key markets.”

And he predicts that with demand strong the improved supply from Vintage 2016 is expected to lift export volumes by a further 10% over the next 12 months.

“The EU, as a whole, represents our single largest market, with exports totalling over $460 million and representing in excess of 30% of total wine exports,” he commented.

New Zealand wines also form a significant export product for the New Zealand economy, being its sixth-largest export commodity with wines from New Zealand sent to nearly 100 countries around the world.

Here in Ireland, New Zealand wines continue to be very popular with the Irish consumer.

According to the Winegrowers’ report, New Zealand wines sold 321,000 cases in 2016, up 15%.

The value of New Zealand wines here also showed significant growth, rising from NZ$17.472 million (€11.41m) for the year to June 2015 to NZ$21.309 (€13.9m) this year.

World-famous for its Sauvignon Blancs, Kiwi winegrowers are coming to the fore today with Pinot Noirs now responsible for 19% of NZ’s 28,883 hectares with Sauvignon Blanc taking up 69% and Chardonnay the remaining 11.6% of this hectarage.

New Zealand wine’s popularity around the world led to a record number of 86 New Zealand producers showcasing their wine at this year’s Prowein exhibition in Dusseldorf last March.




Dublin Tasting set for January

New Zealand Wingegrowers’ Dublin trade tasting takes place in January 2017. Here, the trade and the public can meet wine makers, talk evolution, explore NZ’s diverse regions and embrace the islands’ innovation and diversity.

A huge selection of wineries will be represented from all over the country, some big producers who have helped put New Zealand on the wine map and some who are yet to be discovered in this market.

For more information or to register your interest please e-mail




The most awarded NZ winery


It’s hard to separate New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc these days, but it was Bill & Ross Spence founders of Matua who were the first to put them together back in 1969, producing the first bottles of Matua in an old tin shed which they’d rented in 1974. Over four decades later, Bill Spence is still involved as Matua Ambassador and their award-winning wines are now crafted by Greg Rowdon.


Greg’s relationship with Matua has stretched as far back as 1997 when, during his final year of high school, he wrote to the team asking for advice on how to become a winemaker. He went on to study a Masters in Science degree majoring in Winemaking, and finally got to join Matua’s team in 2002.

Matua has become one of the most decorated New Zealand wine brands winning hundreds of trophies and medals over the years: recently and most notably, Matua was named New Zealand Producer of the Year at the IWSC 2012. Since then things have just been getting better.

In 2015, Matua won Champion Winemaker of the Year at the Royal Easter Wine Show for the third year in a row, bringing the company’s tally to 16 trophies and 68 Gold medals in two years, making Matua one of New Zealand’s most internationally-acclaimed wine brands.

With a fresh contemporary new look in recent years, the introduction to Ireland of the innovative Lands & Legends range and then late last year of their 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.











 The Mud House Story

Mud House is an Official Sponsor of The British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand 2017. Paul Wallace, proud ambassador of Mud House Wines, with the Sauvignon blanc.

Mud House is an Official Sponsor of The British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand 2017. Paul Wallace, proud ambassador of Mud House Wines, with the Sauvignon blanc.

Twenty years ago Mud House’s founders arrived in Marlborough and fell in love with the place. After preparing the land and planting vines, they built a house to live in from the local earth. That home became their brand.

Mud House is a producer focused on sustainable viticulture. With vineyards in Marlborough and Central Otago, Mud House staked a claim on some of New Zealand’s best wine land to ensure the ideal growing conditions for the perfect grape.
















The Vineyards

Marlborough – The Woolshed Vineyard

The Woolshed vineyard is situated west of Blenheim in the shelter of a steep-sided triangular hill called the ‘Delta’. This feature protects the vineyard from the frosts in Spring and the different aspects of the slope produce fruit which makes for exciting blending options.


Central Otago – Bendigo

Once a gold mining region, Bendigo is framed by ancient dry hills and fanned by Westerly winds. The soils have been formed from glaciers grinding up the schist rocks to smaller gravels and finer particles. These soils are rich in minerals, free-draining and low in vigour, so careful use of irrigation is required to maintain vine health.





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