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UK’s top end supermarket keen on HB red wine

27 June 2013


UK’s top end supermarket keen on HB red wine

Hawke’s Bay’s “exciting” wines and the “clean living” image of this region fits the “aspirational ideals” of the customers of Waitrose, UK’s leading top end supermarket, according to its New Zealand wine buyer Matt Smith, who was here on a scouting mission to find new wines to stock the shelves.

It was Mr Smith’s second visit to the region and he was excited by the opportunity he saw for Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet blends. He described the wines he tasted as being “impressive” food focused wines that had benefited from more sun and warmth than competing wines from around the world.

He also identified Hawke’s Bay Chardonnays as “exciting” and that the restrained, fresher flavour would appeal to younger drinkers looking to move away from Sauvignon Blanc.

A guest of Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Inc., Mr Smith, who also buys wines from Australia and Burgundy in France, enjoyed a regional selection tasting of 65 wines and visited Sacred Hill and Craggy Range wineries during his brief time in the Bay this week.

Waitrose has 240 branches across the United Kingdom with a 4.2 percent share of the market, making it the sixth largest grocery retailer in that country. The company also operates Waitrose Wine Direct, an online wine store.

New Zealand wines are ranked third behind French and Italian wines for Waitrose shelf space and Mr Smith believes this country and Hawke’s Bay is more than holding its own on the international stage.


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