New Zealand outperforms rivals

Nicola Collenette and Graham Holter?New Zealand remains the toast of the wine market after posting a 27% increase in off-trade sales.

Nielsen figures for the year to September show the Kiwis are significantly outperforming the category – which grew by just 3% – at the same time as the average price per bottle has fallen from £6.29 to £6.02.

New Zealand volumes rose by 33% in a market down 1%. The only other top 10 countries to achieve volume growth were Italy (7%), Chile (8%) and Spain (6%).

Majestic chief executive Steve Lewis said New Zealand was currently “incredibly successful” in his stores. “We’re extending the range out from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

“Because New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is so popular, we’re piggy-backing on that. Our staff have been asking for more aromatics from New Zealand.

“In general we find our managers are two years ahead of our customers. It’s very important to keep staff interested and engaged as they pass that on to customers.”?Lewis said other areas selling well included Spain, France, Prosecco and Italian wines in general.

Majestic has introduced 30 new reds, 20 whites, two sparkling and dessert wines and one new sherry for its winter range. Five spirits have also been added.

“This is the most diverse offering we’ve ever done,” said Lewis. “There’s been a revolution in the past 10 years in food and wine culture here. Consumers in their 30s and 40s are increasingly interested in wine but they get bored very easily. You need a diverse and interesting range to keep their interest.”