New Zealand has emerged as the only major wine producing nation to enjoy volume sales growth in the UK off-trade, according to Nielsen data.

It has enjoyed 6.3% volume growth and 6.6% value growth value growth in the year to October 2018, despite challenging conditions that have seen its rivals falter.

Australia, Italy, Chile and Argentina have all grown value over the past year, but New Zealand is the only one of the UK’s top 10 countries of origin to grow in volume.

It has also overtaken Germany and Argentina to become the eighth largest supplier to the UK off-trade by value, as it commands a far higher average price point than any other top 10 country apart from France.

Chris Stroud, marketing manager at New Zealand Winegrowers, urged the trade to attend the generic body’s London tasting at County Hall on January 16.

“The New Zealand Annual Tasting in the UK has been going since the 1980’s and is the biggest showcase of New Zealand wine globally,” he said. “The UK is a very strong market for New Zealand and its popularity is not waning as we are celebrating over 20 years of consecutive growth in sales.

“This tasting should be a must attend event for anyone with any interest in New Zealand wine.”

Next year will mark 200 years since Yorkshireman Samuel Marsden planted the first vines in New Zealand.

To celebrate, the country’s leading winegrowers will pour 400 wines for UK buyers at the big tasting.

Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn will be shine a light on Marlborough in his seminar Digging Deeper and Rebecca Gibb MW will explore the many faces of Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago in separate masterclasses. 

New Zealand is primarily known for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and it now accounts for 47% of all Sauvignon Blanc sales in the UK (Nielsen), but Stroud pointed out that it has much to offer beyond its flagship grape.

Pinot Noir now accounts for 71% of red wine produced in New Zealand and a bottle of New Zealand red wine fetches £9.43 in the off-trade, over £3 more than any other country.