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Majestic bets on South Africa to plug New Zealand shortages

Majestic has boosted its range of South African wines to plug the gap left by short supply of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

The retailer is betting on the “under-rated” South Africa following the tightening of supply of New Zealand wines.

As reported by the drinks business in April, the poor harvest in New Zealand, caused by late spring frosts and cooler than usual spring weather, led to significant shortages, very tight supply and strong demand on the market.

As a result, retailers are looking to alternatives to appeal to New Zealand drinkers.

“The main challenge has been to deal with the shortage of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc,” Robert Cooke told the drinks business. “As a result we have considerably increased our options in South Africa as that’s where we think people will move out of New Zealand into.”

Spokesman Jack Merrylees added that South Africa has been an area that has been “neglected for too long” and that this was a “rediscovery of the quality and value of South Africa’s great wines that have been under-appreciated”.

South African wines added to Majestic’s line-ip include Pringle Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2021 from Western Cape, Lone Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2021  and Boekenhoutskloof ‘Vintager’ Sauvignon Blanc from Cape Town (which all retail around the £10-11 mark).

A Chardonnay from Walker Bay, a Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc from DeMorgenzon along with three red wines, a Merlot and Malbec from Stellenbosch and a Syrah from Man Family Wines, completes the line-up.

Two sparkling wines from South Africa have also been added to the range, Graham Beck’s Blanc de Blancs 2017 and Graham Beck’s Rosé 2017 (RRP: £19.99 or £17.99 mix any six).

Sparkling range

Around 15% of the retailer’s range has been refreshed this autumn in a series of ‘tweaks’ following a major revamp of the range last year, when more than half of its portfolio was refreshed.

As part of this overhaul, Majestic has also focused on its sparkling offering, adding brands and skus to both Crémant and Champagne. The retailer has added around five new Crémants, including ‘Extra par Langlois Crémant de Loire Brut (RRP: £13.99 or £9.99 in mix any six), along with several Champagnes, Labbé and Fils Brut Champagne (RRP: 33.99 per bottle or £27.99 mix any six) and five crus from Champagne House Cattier, the first national listing for Champagne Cattier in the UK.

It includes the Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru (RRP: 49.99 or £44.99 mix any six) and the acclaimed ‘Clos du Moulin’ Premier Cru Brut (RRP: £99.99 or £84.99 mix any six).

Majestic has also added two sparkling wines from South Africa,  and three English sparklers, two in its Definition range.

The Definition range has further been boosted with a selection of still wines, including several classic French wines, such as Médoc and Pauillac, and a White Rioja from Muga. A new Definition gin from a new supplier is also being added to the line-up.

Other new additions across the range include a Loimer Manhart 2018 Langenlois from Kamptal (RRP: £16.99 or £14.99 mix any six), a rich Nunzio Ghiraldi Lugana using the indigenous Tubiana grape (RRP: £14.99 or £12.99 mix any six), and a smoky Chardonnay from Mendoza called ‘Terrazas de los Andes’ 2018 (RRP: £16.99 or £11.99 mix any six).


One of the stars of the last year was rosé, which has become “a 52 week of the year” drink, Cooke said, with sales up 75% this summer.

“We had astonishingly good sales of rosé last summer and we were very pleased and surprised at how well demand for premium rosé had held up across the winter, which we haven’t seen so much before,” he said.

“And generally, people’s shopping habits during lockdown have continued, whereby they are prepared to experiment and pay a bit more for quality. So we’re still seeing people absolutely trading up to quality in the wines they’re drinking.”

Cooke noted that the retailer had had a “fantastic” year for fine wine sales,  and is hoping for a strong Christmas, as people sought to make up for last year’s Christmas being cancelled.

“There are fewer moving parts this year than last… and we’re cautiously optimistic that we have a more even playing field than last year,” he added.

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