New Zealand wine celebrates bicentenary with record sales

Next year, New Zealand will be celebrating 200 years since the first vines were planted on its shores and over 20 years of consecutive sales growth in the UK.

The country got its first vines in 1819 when Yorkshireman and Christian missionary, Samuel Marsden, planted 100 vines at Kerikeri in the Bay of the Islands.

Today, there are close to 40,000 hectares of vines dotted across New Zealand and in the past 20 years, the total vineyard area has more than tripled.

In 1998 New Zealand exported just 15 million litres of wine, worth NZ$100m. Twenty years on and exports exceeded 255 million litres in 2018, tipping $1.7bn.

Rebecca Gibb MW will be hosting a Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago masterclass at the tasting

In the UK, the thirst for New Zealand wine is still strong. According to recent Nielsen data, NZ is the only country showing both volume (+6.3%) and value (+6.6%) growth in the off-trade.

Pinot Noir has come of age in the country since the first modern plantings in the 1970s and now represents 77% of New Zealand’s red vineyard area.

NZ reds command the highest bottle price in the UK off-trade of any country, at an average of £9.43 a bottle, according to Nielsen.

New Zealand Winegrowers will be celebrating 200 years of vine growing at its annual trade tasting on 16 January at County Hall in London.

Over 400 wines will be available to taste and a number of the country’s top winemakers will be in attendance, including Kevin Judd of Greywacke and Warren Gibson of Trinity Hill.

Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn will be scratching the surface of Marlborough in his ‘Digging Deeper’ seminar, while Master of Wine Rebecca Gibb will explore the many faces of Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago in a separate masterclass.

“The New Zealand Annual Tasting in the UK has been going since the 1980’s and is the biggest showcase of New Zealand wine globally.

“The UK is a very strong market for New Zealand and its popularity is not waning as we are celebrating over 20 years of consecutive growth in sales. This tasting should be a must attend event for anyone with any interest in New Zealand wine,” said New Zealand Winegrowers Europe marketing manager, Chris Stroud.

Those interested in registering for the tasting can do so here.

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