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New Zealand Wine Soars To New Heights

May 29, 2015

New Zealand wine continues to advance rapidly in the U.S. market, delivering impressive growth in both volume and value. In 2014, New Zealand table wine imports jumped by 19.3% to 5.67 million cases, concluding a three-year period which showed an increase of 55%, according to Impact Databank.

While rival imports are sharpening their focus on premiumization, New Zealand is already very much a premium proposition. Five New Zealand wines earned Impact “Hot Brand” honors after achieving double-digit growth in 2014, and each of them—Kim Crawford, Oyster Bay, Nobilo, Starborough and Matua Valley—retails for well over $10 a bottle. The category’s retail average of around $11.25 a 750-ml. in Nielsen channels is more than 50% above the overall import median of roughly $7.25.

The largest New Zealand wine brand in the U.S., Constellation Brands’ Kim Crawford, has added more than a half-million cases to its volume since 2008, rising 19% to 815,000 cases last year. The brand, which retails at between $17-$33, has traditionally been led by its Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, but has also seen increased demand for its Unoaked Chardonnay and Pinot Gris of late.

Also at New Zealand’s super-premium end is Oyster Bay. Positioned in the $15-$19 range, Oyster Bay was up 19% last year, to 560,000 cases. Other Kiwi standouts include Kim Crawford portfoliomate Nobilo ($13-$25), which hit half a million cases in 2014 on a 17.6% gain, as well as Treasury Wine Estates’ Matua Valley, which emerged as the fastest-growing Hot Brand on this year’s imported wine roster after recording 50% growth and reaching 278,000 cases in 2014.

The New Zealand wine boom has extended into 2015, with category volume and value both up double-digits, according to Nielsen.

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