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NZ’s Whitehaven Wine First To Make USA Top 100

15 September 2008

NZ’s Whitehaven Wine First To Make USA Top 100

A new milestone for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has been reached with a savvy, produced in Marlborough by the Whitehaven Wine Company, included for the first time in the top 100 individual wines sold in USA restaurants.

The breakthrough is identified in a report published in the Restaurant Wine Magazine, a trade magazine serving the US hospitality and wine industries which analyses US wine consumption statistics annually.

Publisher and Master of Wine, Ronn Wiegand, assesses the wines ordered across the spectrum of US restaurants, ranging from casual through to fine dining.

Minimum sales of 80,000 cases were required to make it onto the 2007 list and this is the first time a Sauvignon Blanc has ever reached the list.

“Sauvignon Blanc is New Zealand’s flagship on the international market and our reputation rests on this variety so it’s a great accolade for us,” says Whitehaven Managing Director Sue White.

The report says consumption of Whitehaven’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in US restaurants increased by 157% between 2006 and 2007.

Whitehaven’s Commercial Manager Steve Ross says that’s in line with the increasing volumes the winery is sending to the United States market.

“Interest really took off when our Sauvignon Blanc was judged best savvy at the San Francisco International Wine Challenge five years ago. Since then our Sauvignon sales in particular have built steadily every year and it’s fantastic to see confirmation like this of Whitehaven’s success,” he said.

Senior Winemaker Sam Smail says he’s proud to think that Whitehaven is putting Sauvignon Blanc on the map in the United States.

“We know how good Marlborough’s Sauvignons are and it’s thrilling to see that American diners are recognising that,” he said.

Mr Smail says Whitehaven’s trademark Sauvignon Blanc is intense and fruit-driven – an authentic Marlborough savvy.

Whitehaven is marketed and distributed in the US through American wine giant, E&J Gallo, and is the only New Zealand winery in its portfolio. The Renwick-based winery secured a distribution agreement with the US producer and distributor in 2003.

Whitehaven, and its other label Mansion House Bay, are also marketed in the UK and Ireland, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The US Restaurant Wine Magazine says the figures, for the 2007 year, were drawn from reliable industry sources and from extensive interviews with restaurateurs, distributors, importers and wineries.

It reports that Chardonnay is still the most popular wine variety consumed in US restaurants and, for the first time, Pinot Grigio is ranked as American’s second choice when dining out.


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