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Uruguayan brand sets sights on supermarkets

The team behind Uruguay’s Bodega Garzón has launched a new range of wines to help expand its presence into the multiple retail sector.

Called Colinas de Uruguay, the collection features a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 Albariño and 2013 Tannat, all carrying an RRP of £9.99 and distributed in the UK via Bibendum PLB.

The wines come from the same 200-hectare estate in Uruguay’s Maldonado region that produces the on-trade and independent retail-focused Garzón brand, but draw on grapes from the property’s younger vines.

Bodega Garzón’s winemaking consultant Alberto Antonini, has spoken of his enthusiasm for Maldonado, whose free-draining soil and coastal influence make it, in his view, a superior grape growing region to Uruguay’s viticultural heartland of Canelones.

Both the Garzón and Colinas de Uruguay ranges feature an Albariño, which the estate is promoting as a flagship white for the country thanks to geological and climatic similarities – especially in terms of high rainfall – to Galicia.

“It’s what we want to be known for,” commented Gustavo Crespo, UK managing director of Blends Wine Estates, within whose portfolio Bodega Garzón sits. In addition, he noted: “Most Albariño from Spain is more expensive.”

Having already launched the new range in Denmark, Switzerland and Ireland, the company is now seeking to bolster Uruguay’s off-trade representation in the UK, a market that has seen this country’s wine sales grow by over 300% in the last four years.

“The on-trade has engaged with Uruguay,” said Crespo as he highlighted listings in a variety of upmarket restaurants including Sushisamba and the Mondrian Hotel in London.

However, he suggested that the UK’s multiple retailer sector could prove more challenging, observing: “The off-trade are reducing their ranges and we don’t see them moving to try something new.”

Nevertheless, Crespo maintained: “Uruguay is definitely a country to watch in the UK.” Noting the strong rise in sales figures, he remarked: “The launch of Colinas de Uruguay, which has been developed specifically for the retail trade in the UK market, coincides with this growth and interest.”

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