9 New Zealand

13 July, 2007

Market share by value: 2.9

per cent

Last year's rank: 9

Last year's market share: 2.3

per cent

Sales value: £126 million

Change o

n last year: +31

per cent

The UK's love affair with New Zealand wine gets more profound by the vintage. From a small but expanding base, the Kiwis have shown the largest market growth over the last 12 months and their average bottle price has

again cleared the

£6 barrier (to £6.11) beneath which it

fell last year.

As ever, it is Sauvignon Blanc that is driving sales, with 73 per cent of the overall mix.

Demand for Sauvignon, despite large vintages in 2006 and 2007, still outstrips supply and it's hard to see that changing.

Pinot Noir is arguably a more exciting prospect . Boosted by the success of Pinot Noir 2007, the third Wellington conference dedicated to the grape, New Zealand has

shown

it is increasingly a match for Burgundy at the top end and is starting to produce commercial volumes under £12, with the likes of Montana and Villa Maria leading the way.

Add Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and small but world-class quantities of Hawkes Bay Syrah,

plus a handful of red Bordeaux blends, and

see why New Zealanders are smiling.




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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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