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Direct Customer Connection Key For Growth

Waipara-based winemaker Jess Mavromatis of Ekleipsis Wine is focusing on direct customer sales to help expand her natural wine brand.

Jess Mavromatis

Jess exports her boutique wines to Japan and Australia and Ekleipsis Wine is also available from independent wine retailers and restaurants throughout New Zealand. To adapt to a changing world, she is investigating options for direct sales.

“I’m exploring e-commerce as I want to focus on selling my wine direct to customers because I'm looking for more flexibility and connection with customers. I am looking into a range of options.”

Jess describes her lockdown winemaking experience as the weirdest vintage ever as she had to make the decision to make everything remotely to create this year’s wines.

“I could have stayed on site for the duration of lockdown, but I felt it was too long to be away from my family. Instead, I managed the winemaking process with the help of a couple of interns with juice samples dropped off to my home and lots of photos of the ferments. It was definitely a new experience as it’s all about taste and sight for me.”

Before lockdown, Jess sent an export order to Japan which has since sold out, and she also sent a shipment to Australia at the start of lockdown. She says the market for natural wine is growing at a rapid pace, especially in Japan.

“There’s a real demand for a natural product which doesn’t contain sulphites. Our grapes are grown without chemicals and fermented naturally. People are really keen to try natural wine.”

In March, Jess was on the cusp of securing a New York-based distributor for her wine label but when Covid hit the USA, negotiations were put on hold.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick this up in the future but for the moment I am focusing on growing my New Zealand customer base.

Jess currently produces her wine at a contract wine making facility to reduce overheads and has plans to secure her own space in the future.

“In the future I think I’d like my own small facility and want to connect face to face with customers at the weekends. For now, though, my focus is on incrementally growing the volume of wine I am producing and starting up web sales.”

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