Exton Park becomes first English sparkling wine listed in Quebec

A rosé sparkling from Hampshire’s Exton Park is to become the first English sparkling wine listed in state-run stores in the Canadian province of Quebec, with bottles expected to land in early May.

Exton’s rosé NV is set to be listed in 400 Société des alcools du Québec’ (SAQ) stores in a bid to open up new sales markets for the English winery.

Speaking to the drinks business, sales and marketing manager Kit Ellen said: “We have been planning this move into Canada for nearly a year now. The Canadian market is showing good growth, driven by an affluent consumer group.

“Quebec more specifically seems particularly open to new wine trends and interesting products. Montreal and Quebec City are two of Canada’s key cities and both are on the Eastern seaboard nearest to the UK.

“This is an incredibly exciting step for us, and we really hope the Quebecois will take Exton Park to their hearts. It is no easy feat to get listed by the SAQ, but we are confident that the elegant and versatile Rosé NV will do well there, particularly with the abundance of fresh Canadian produce on the doorstep”.

Ellen added that he believed that many state-run alcohol markets, such as Quebec, Norway and Sweden, “are actually very open to new trends, with multiple English sparkling wine tenders being released over the last 12 months in all of these markets”.

Exton Park’s rosé NV is expected to sell for CA$40 a bottle.

Exton Park’s local MP for the Meon Valley, George Hollingberry said: “It is excellent news that a wine from Hampshire – and indeed my constituency – has been chosen to represent Great Britain in Quebec.

“It is vital to build these international trade links and fly the flag for Britain as the interest in English sparkling wine spreads across the world.

“I am delighted that Exton Park has achieved such an important listing in Canada, and wish this exciting vineyard on the chalk slopes above the Meon Valley every success in future export markets”.

The rosé NV is expected to retail for around CA$40 per bottle, while in the UK it sells for around £29.95-£32 a bottle.

Exton Park is not the first English winery to cross the pond into Canada. Last year, Kent winery Hush Heath achieved a listing with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario with its Balfour 1503 Classic Cuvée. The move was welcomed at the time by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Founded in 2003, Exton Park was bought by local businessman Malcolm Isaac in 2009 and initially supplied grapes to nearby producer Coates and Seely. Since then, however, it has gone on to produce its own wines, including England’s first 100% Pinot Meunier rosé in 2016.

In 2017, the English winery secured distribution deals in Italy and the US and later on that year, it appointed Friarwood as its London-based distributor.

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