Australian wine brand Hardys is reinforcing its historic and upmarket credentials in the UK with the launch of two new ranges and a listing for its range topping Eileen Hardy blend.
Majestic Wine is to sell Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2009 for £25
The iconic Eileen Hardy label, comprising a Chardonnay and Shiraz, has just been listed by Majestic Wine according to Paul Schaafsma, who is UK general manager for Accolade Wines, which owns Hardys.
Initially just the Chardonnay has been taken on by the UK’s largest wine warehouse, although it’s hoped the Syrah will also be listed, said Schaafsma, speaking to the drinks business at ProWein last week where Accolade Wines had a stand.
“We need our halo brand in the right place and I think Majestic is a fantastic place, with so many wine enthusiasts,” he said, stating his satisfaction at the new tie-up.
The new listing is part of Schaafsma’s aim to raise the fine wine profile of the Hardys brand.
“The premium aspects of Hardys really need to be focused on,” he said.
He also said that Bill Hardy, who is a fifth generation winemaker of the Hardys family, will be flying over to the UK to train Majestic shop managers in the history of the brand and the components of Eileen Hardy.
“I’m passionate about the Majestic team talking about Eileen as where we begin… in terms of enhancing the reputation of Hardys this is the wine to do it,” said Schaafsma.
Majestic will receive a 500 case allocation of Eileen Hardy Chardonnay
Majestic will be taking a 500-case allocation of the 2009 vintage of Eileen Hardy Chardonnay, and will sell it for £25 per bottle.
Unusually this harvest uses grapes exclusively from Tasmania – although it is still labeled as “South Eastern Australia” (it is commonly a blend of Chardonnay from Adelaide Hills and Tasmania).
Like other iconic Australian Chardonnay blend, Penfolds Yattarna, Tasmanian-sourced fruit is becoming dominant.
According to Majestic customer feedback, Shaafsma said UK drinkers were looking for a traditional Australian Chardonnay style, and not the extremely lean unoaked examples.
“They don’t want masses of oak, but traditional Australian Chardonnay with integrated oak.”
Schaafsma also recorded, “The guys at Majestic say they are sick of selling New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and that their customers are looking for the next thing.”
Speaking of the Eileen Hardy Chardonnay, which spends 9 months in French oak, 50% of which is new, he added, “This style of Australian Chardonnay has got a bright future.”
Meanwhile, Accolade Wines has created a new range called Hardys Signature which will be exclusive to Majestic.
Comprising four varietal wines, the label will sit on the shelf at £8.99, with a £6.99 multi-buy price.
Elsewhere, Hardys has developed a new range to mark its 160th anniversary – the brand began in 1853 – which will be sold in UK supermarket Waitrose.
Called Hardys 160th Anniversary Limited Release, Bill Hardy has created a Shiraz from the 2011 vintage and a Chardonnay from the 2010 harvest which will both sell in the multiple retailer for £8.99.
Schaafsma described the changes, instigated since he joined Accolade in September last year after 14 years at Australian Vintage, as “the revitalization of Hardys”.
Aside from additions to the Hardys range, he also said the group was working on creating a clearer difference in the taste and look of the wines.