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U.S. Becomes Top Market for New Zealand Wines

August 28, 2020

New Zealand wine exports to the United States reached another all-time high in the 12-month period ended in June, as shipments increased 8.3% to 9.2 million 9-liter cases, according to Statistics New Zealand. The U.S. had been the second-largest market (behind the U.K.) for New Zealand wines until this year, and as recently as 2015, Australia had been ahead of the U.S. in volume terms.

New Zealand wine shipments to the U.S. have increased by well over 50% in the past five years. High-end brands continue to drive New Zealand’s growth, as U.S. import values advanced even faster, up 11.7% to NZ$622 million ($342m). New Zealand wines also remain strong in retail channels, as dollar sales in IRI channels advanced 24% in the calendar year-to-date ending August 9.

White wines accounted for nearly 97% of New Zealand wine exports to the U.S. in fiscal 2020. American drinkers 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.

With 25% U.S. tariffs hampering European import categories like France, Spain, and Germany, overall U.S. table wine imports fell 8% to 46.8 million cases during the first half of 2020, 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.—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 571 585 -2.5%
5 Starborough E.&J. Gallo 465 465
Total Top Five3 3,781 4,011 6.1%
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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