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New Zealand Wine Bolsters Import Market, As Double-Digit Growth Continues

February 27, 2020

New Zealand wine exports to the United States reached another all-time high in 2019 as bottled table wine shipments increased 12% to 5.9 million 9-liter cases, according to Impact Databank. The U.S. remained the largest export market for New Zealand wines, ahead of the U.K. and Australia, according to Statistics New Zealand, as shipments to the U.S. neared $600 million last year.

Higher-priced brands continue to drive New Zealand’s growth, as its wines retailing at above $15 a 750-ml. surged 25% in IRI channels in 2019, compared to an 11% gain for brands priced between $11-$15 (the largest single segment) and a 6% increase for wines priced below $11 a 750-ml. American consumers continue to gravitate to kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, with that varietal accounting for approximately 95% of the U.S. category, according to New Zealand Winegrowers, although Pinot Noir has also been making inroads from a small base.

“If you look at average price per case (among imported wines in the U.S.), New Zealand ranks second behind only France,” notes David Strada, U.S. marketing manager for the New Zealand Winegrowers. “As impressive as that is, I believe the wines are still undervalued in the marketplace.”

Among the wines driving gains for New Zealand in the U.S., Constellation Brands’ Kim Crawford continues to rise, although its growth slowed to an estimated 2.8% last year to 1.37 million cases. The namesake brand of Oyster Bay Wines USA also remains on the upswing, finishing just shy of the 1-million-case mark last year on a 10% increase. Treasury Wine Estates and E.&J. Gallo also boast rising brands in the New Zealand category with Matua (+17% to 615,000 cases) and Whitehaven (+18% to 325,000 cases), respectively.

With 25% U.S. tariffs hampering European import categories like France, Spain, and Germany, overall U.S. imports of bottled table wine slipped 0.8% to 76.8 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank. The ongoing growth of New Zealand—and enhanced opportunities for other Southern Hemisphere regions—could help offset declines in the European segment looking ahead.—Daniel Marsteller & Juan Banaag

Top Five New Zealand Wine Brands in the U.S.
(thousands of 9-liter cases)
Rank Brand Importer 2018 2019 Percent
Change1
1 Kim Crawford Constellation Brands 1,330 1,367 2.8%
2 Oyster Bay Oyster Bay Wines USA 890 979 10.0%
3 Matua Treasury Wine Estates 525 615 17.1%
4 Nobilo E.&J. Gallo2 571 570 -0.2%
5 Starborough E.&J. Gallo 465 465
Total Top Five3 3,781 3,996 5.7%
1 Based on unrounded data
2 To be acquired from Constellation pending regulatory approval
3 Addition of columns may not agree due to rounding

Source: IMPACT DATABANK © 2020

 

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