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New Zealand Wines Thrive Stateside, Led By Super-Premium Brands

May 5, 2014

New Zealand wine imports continue to gain ground in the U.S., with much of the segment’s growth concentrated in the premium-and-above range. Bottled wine shipments from New Zealand grew 9.1% to more than 2.7 million cases in 2012 and then accelerated in 2013, rising 12% to over 3.1 million cases. The trend has continued this year, with New Zealand wine rising by 21% in IRI channels in the 12 weeks ending March 23.

The U.S. market’s largest New Zealand wine brand—Constellation’s Kim Crawford ($17-$33 a 750-ml.)—has helped promote the category’s high-end status, achieving impressive double-digit volume growth despite its relatively upscale price point. After growing 23.8% in 2012, the brand reached 685,000 cases last year on a nearly identical 23% gain. Constellation also markets New Zealand’s thriving Nobilo brand (which ranges from around $13-$25 a 750-ml.), and entry level Monkey Bay ($10-$12), which crossed 200,000 cases last year.

Another player within premium-and-above segment, Oyster Bay ($15-$19 a 750-ml.) grew 19.6% in 2013 to 468,000 cases, making it the market’s second-largest New Zealand wine brand. In February, Oyster Bay Wines USA vice president, national sales manager Peter Edgar told SND the brand is slated to surpass 500,000 cases in the U.S. this year.

“Oyster Bay combines premium pricing with a high rate of sale,” said Edgar. “New Zealand as an industry has been able to manage supply relatively well as demand grows, maintaining a super-premium position.”

Treasury Wine’s Matua brand ($13-$30 a 750-ml.), meanwhile, has emerged as one of the U.S. market’s fastest-growing New Zealand entries following a period of some softness. In 2011, Matua declined 7% in the U.S. to 107,000 cases, but the brand staged a strong rebound in 2012, rising 28% to 137,000 cases. Last year, Matua gained momentum with a 34% surge, according to Impact Databank.

USA – Top Five New Zealand Wine Brands
(thousands of nine-liter cases)
Depletions Percent Change*
Rank Brand Importer 2011 2012 2013 2011-2012 2012-2013
1 Kim Crawford Constellation Brands 450 557 685 23.8% 23.0%
2 Oyster Bay Oyster Bay Wines USA 302 391 468 29.4% 19.6%
3 Nobilo Constellation Brands 296 354 426 19.6% 20.3%
4 Monkey Bay Constellation Brands 171 178 207 4.1% 16.3%
5 Matua Treasury Wine Estates Americas 107 137 184 28.0% 34.3%
Total Top Five 1,327 1,617 1,970 21.9% 21.8%
*based on unrounded data

Source: IMPACT DATABANK

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