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Giesen Wines – expanding to meet demand

Giesen Wines – expanding to meet demand

L-R - Jim Veitch, 
Theo Giesen (without glasses) ,  Marcel Giesen   at the
company's  recently  opened bottling
Click to enlarge

L-R - Jim Veitch, Theo Giesen (without glasses) , Marcel Giesen at the company's recently opened bottling plant.

19 December 2006
Giesen Wines – expanding to meet demand

Giesen Wines, one of New Zealand’s biggest producers of internationally renowned Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, has invested $3.5M expanding and upgrading its winery and tank capacity in Blenheim and established a new bottling and packaging plant in Christchurch.

Overall, the capital investment will enable the company to increase production by 67%, an additional 200,000 cases a year, within the next two to three years.

“We can’t keep up with demand for our Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and the Australian market, in particular, is doing very well for us,” says General Manager, Jim Veitch. “Exports account for 95% of our sales going mostly to Australia, followed by the United States and the United Kingdom.”

Established 25 years ago by brothers Theo, Alex and Marcel Giesen, Giesen Wines has grown to become New Zealand’s sixth largest wine company and one of the country’s few independent winemakers. The brothers work closely with the winemaking and vineyard team and are all still involved in growing the grapes, making the wine, bottling it and then marketing and selling it through distributors.

The most significant growth has occurred in the past three years with sales climbing from $5 million in 2000, to approaching $25 million in the next 12 months. Increased production has been spurred by ongoing investment in Giesen’s Dillon's Point vineyard in the heart of the Wairau Valley. The 120 hectare vineyard has been developed from scratch, and will be in full production for the 2007 vintage. Giesen Wines now have 250 hectares of vineyards in Marlborough, almost entirely planted with Sauvignon Blanc.

With storage capacity in Blenheim now at 4 million litres, double the previous year, Jim Veitch says it was timely to establish the new bottling operation and move to new premises.

“The new bottling facility will literally double our production capacity. The decision to base the new plant at Christchurch was due to the freight efficiencies of being close to the port and infrastructure. Giesen’s excellent relationship with existing Christchurch service providers was another reason to remain in Christchurch.”

Comments in the last Winegrowers Annual Report, by former Winegrowers chair Brian Vieceli, highlight the need to increase capacity. He says New Zealand’s wine industry is continuing to grow with export earnings reaching a record high in excess of half a billion dollars at June 2006. Industry projections and surveys show confidence that sales will continue to grow, driven by exports of Sauvignon Blanc, mostly from Marlborough. Currently out of every 100 bottles of New Zealand wine sold overseas 72 are Sauvignon Blanc.

“We have built an enviable international reputation for making world class Sauvignon Blanc,” says Theo Giesen. “The Giesen brand is highly recognisable overseas and to back up this claim, Lufthansa and American Airlines this year selected Giesen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for its first and business class wine lists.

“Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough overall is showing huge consumer driven growth in all the major export markets. With our recent capital investments we are now in a position to make sure that Giesen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc remains one of New Zealand’s leading export brands.”


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