Kiwi Grigio big in Majestic

Majestic is seeing sales of Pinot Grigio from New Zealand outstrip Kiwi stalwart Sauvignon Blanc, according to buying director Justin Apthorp.

Speaking at the retailer's winter press tasting last week, Apthorp said that when Majestic sourced 16,000 bottles of Southbank Estate Pinot Grigio from Hawkes Bay last October, it outsold the Southbank Estate Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand in the first month of going in store.

The growing popularity of Pinot Grigio from New Zealand has encouraged Majestic to add The Ned Waihopai River Pinot Grigio 2007 from Marlborough to its portfolio, which will hit shelves this week.

Warren Adamson, UK director of New Zealand Winegrowers, said exports of Pinot Grigio have risen by 155 per cent in the past year. "It's off a small base, but it's fantastic to see," he said.

Making sure New Zealand isn't pigeon-holed as a Sauvignon Blanc producer is a key mission for NZW. "Sauvignon will always be a prestigious varietal; you can't take away what it represents for us. But we're trying to get people looking for other varietals," Adamson said.

Majestic will encourage customers to try different New Zealand wines in a promotion from Nov 9 to 15. The retailer is also offering 20 per cent off Kiwi wines through winter when buying two bottles .