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A New Zealand wine has joined La Place de Bordeaux for the first time

A wine from New Zealand has joined La Place de Bordeaux, becoming the first brand from this island nation to trade via this historic French distribution network.

Announced this week, Craggy Range has made the decision to use La Place for its top end expressions from the 2020 vintage – Le Sol Syrah and Aroha Pinot Noir – which will be released along with other non-Bordeaux wines in September this year (Bordeaux, in contrast, is sold en primeur, before it’s bottled, in April following the vintage).

So far, Craggy Range, which was founded by the Peabody Family in 1998, has appointed two négociants, or wine traders, which are CVBG and Mahler Besse in both Europe and Asia.

Explaining the reason for using the French network for these two flagship wines, David Peabody, grandson of the owner and marketing manager at Craggy Range, said that La Place would help expand the reach of the wines, while boosting the image for the brand.

“La Place makes sense for Craggy as it expands our distribution reach within the world of fine wine. While this is great for Craggy, it will also reinforce the idea that New Zealand does have a place in the world of fine wine, especially for Pinot Noir. Hopefully, this will encourage international négociants to look at New Zealand fine wine more seriously,” he commented.

Continuing, he said, “We believe our two great estates, our Gimblett Gravels Vineyard (Hawke’s Bay) and our Te Muna Road Vineyard (Martinborough), produce world-class Syrah and Pinot Noir, respectively. The fact that the response from the négociant network within La Place has been so strong is a wonderful acknowledgement of that.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Caillard MW, an expert in fine wines from Australasia described the decision as “a great opportunity for New Zealand to build their presence in the fine wine world.”

Also commenting on the move, Tom Portet & Emma Thienpont of International First Growths said, “The growth in demand for international wines has been extraordinary, so the time is right to bring New Zealand into the mix”.

This announcement follows news that two Champagne brands have also joined La Place – Philipponnat and Lanson – further expanding the breadth of wines now handled by this French distribution network.

As previously written about by db, La Place is taking on renewed appeal, especially among those outside Bordeaux, both because it helps augment the reputation of wine estates by association with the famous names already handled by the network, but also because the network of négociants that comprise the system have remarkable logistical and distributional might, particularly in Asia.

However, success is not assured for a brand that’s new to La Place, and any wine sold through the distribution network must first have a strong qualitative reputation to be pulled through the system – La Place is a tool to reach the trade, but not a marketing service.

While La Place has been used to distribute Bordeaux’s most famous wines to the world since the seventeenth century, the network first opened its doors to the wines of the New World with Almaviva in 1996 and Opus One in 2004, as both brands were in partnership with Château Mouton Rothschild.

Since then, La Place has begun to offer prestigious wines from Italy, the USA, South America, and other regions within France.

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