According to an article just published in Shanken News Daily – the daily, online, trade-oriented newsletter published by the company that owns Wine Spectator – sales of New Zealand wines are on the upswing in the US market. They have seen double-digit annual growth over the past four years. (The article was not bylined.)
The leader in this upward volley is Kim Crawford, best known for its Sauvignon Blanc. What’s interesting about this strong sales data is that New Zealand wines are not generally available in the $6-$12 price point, which is where most of the US wine-buying activity is focused. People who buy wine in this category generally are price driven – and will jump from brand to brand based on the best deal.
Generally, wines that sell in the $20+ category engender more brand loyalty. This is because people who spend more money on wine like to know what they are getting. Champagne is the region that best illustrates this. Because it’s the most expensive wine that the average wine drinker will purchase, he or she will tend to go with name brands that are recognizable. It makes that person feel confident that he or she has purchased a quality product.
As people become more wine knowledgeable, they become more experimental. I would imagine that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, much of which is available on sale for lower prices, led the growth by instilling confidence in the average consumer. As that wine-savvy consumer became more confident in New Zealand wines, it is likely that he or she would decide to try different varietals and higher price points.
What kind of consumer are you? And what do you think of New Zealand wines?