New Zealand wine sales are up 4% in volume and 10% in value to £319 million in the UK off-trade (Nielsen, year to October 2014).
The average price of £7.33 is higher than any other country of origin, with France in second on £6.37 and Argentina third on £5.74.
Wines of New Zealand boss Philip Gregan told OLN: “British consumers’ love affair with New Zealand wine continues. It’s an established part of the trade here now, but we still get an incredibly positive response to our wine. “With the pick up of the UK economy and the end of the duty escalator – the Wine & Spirit Trade Association did a great job with its campaign – there are a lot of positives in the market.
“A few years ago everybody was talking about the demise of the independents but a lot of people now are talking about the rise of independents again. “The New Zealand dollar is strong against the pound, so that’s good news for our producers.”
Rival countries would kill for New Zealand’s affluent young consumer base, according to Mud House supplier Accolade.
The UK’s biggest wine firm made its first move into the dynamic category when it bought Mud House last year, and it has grown UK sales from 10,000 9-litre cases to 250,000 in nine months.
Accolade’s category development manager Jane Robertson said: “New Zealand shoppers are younger and more affluent than any of the other countries of origin.
“It’s a dream shopper – young, engaged, knowledgeable, willing to spend money on New Zealand, willing to learn more. “It’s a great shopper to have. Any other country of origin would kill for this.”
Accolade general manager Paul Schaafsma said: “We are very committed to New Zealand. If anything we will grow our presence there.”
Anthony Habert, Sogrape UK’s marketing manager for New Zealand brand Ribbonwood, said: “The great thing about New Zealand is – year in, year out – quality. Very rarely do you get people that taste wine from New Zealand and aren’t happy with it.
“That underpins everything. People wouldn’t be prepared to pay premium prices if the quality wasn’t there.
“New Zealand wine styles are clean, pure and honest.”
Fiona Mottershaw, brand manager for Villa Maria at Hatch Mansfield, added: “Villa Maria is going like a train. Each year is a record year. We always think how can we replicate last year’s performance, and think we can’t do it, but we always do.
“It’s a really strong off-trade brand. It is still Hatch Mansfield’s top wine in the indies.”