Trend watch: Premium Australia and New Zealand on the rise

Premium Australia and New Zealand wine - Craggy RangeOn Trade sales of Australian and New Zealand wines over £25 are up, while sales of entry level wines are dipping. Are consumers starting to head south of the equator for that special bottle?

Gone are the days when ‘premium’ was synonymous with only France and Italy, while everything else was seen as plonk. A recent CGA Strategy report has shown that On Trade sales of Australian wine over £25 have increased 60% while wines below £25 have plummeted by 7%. And there’s a similar story for New Zealand. With sales of premium wines growing by 19%, and wines at the lower end of the price scale slowing down, with growth of just 7%.

In search of authentic terroir

For Jess Robertson, winemaker at Mount Langi Ghiran in Victoria, this has to do with a new wave of winemakers who are re-connecting with the land to produce terroir-driven wines .“It’s a really exciting time in Australia at the moment. We’ve got a new generation of winemakers coming into play who are really starting to focus not just on the variety, but where it’s from – they’re really trying to find and identify that sense of place. Those little nuances that you get from the different soils, climates and terroirs,” she says.

Gavin Hills from Michelin-starred pub The Hand and Flowers agrees, saying, “as long as I can remember, Australia always used to be about hot-baked Shiraz. But today there’s so much more available – from light, fruity and natural Pinot Noirs to rich, fruity Cabernets. Among my newest additions to the wine list are a group of winemakers called Some Young Punks, creating traditional wines with a twist and some terrifyingly good label designs.”

Top dollar for top wines?

Winemakers are really starting to push the boundaries when it comes to quality, but are customers willing to pay premium prices for what have traditionally been seen as entry-level winemaking regions? For Nadia Dunn of The Providores restaurant in London, there has been a clear shift in attitudes in recent years.

“New Zealand has definitely now been recognised as a serious wine-producing region. Consumers are really listening and watching these wines take shape, some even have a cult following and are beginning to sell on allocation,” she says. For Nadia it comes down to a uniqueness of style, “the one thing New Zealand wines have in common is their ability to convey a personality”. Providores restaurant lists a huge selection of premium New Zealand wines including Millton and Craggy Range.

Better by the glass

If customers are still wary of buying a whole bottle from an un-tried new region, your ‘by the glass’ offer can help. Offering a varied range of wines by the glass is a great way to get your customers trying premium wines outside their usual comfort zone. With the average price for a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc increasing by 33% in the last year and Australian Riesling by 3% this is a commercially savvy way to start experimenting with new, premium additions to your list.

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19th October 2016

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