New figures from trade group New Zealand Winegrowers show that annual exports of New Zealand wine surged to NZ$2.4bn (£1.17bn) in the year to May 2023.
That was largely down to the ongoing demand for the idiosyncratic flavours that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc offers.
It has long been a staple of UK supermarket shelves and restaurant lists, but is now beginning to conquer America too.
‘New Zealand wine, particularly Sauvignon Blanc, is going from strength to strength in the USA, as consumers appreciate the distinctive flavours, commitment to quality, and know it is a unique product that they can trust,’ said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.
Despite only accounting for 1% of global wine production, New Zealand was the world’s sixth largest wine exporter by value in 2022, according to the group.
The largest export markets are the United States, the UK and Australia, which account for the bulk of sales.
‘Reaching another new record level of wine exports into some of the world’s largest and most competitive markets is an outstanding achievement for New Zealand wine exporters, and testifies to the increasingly strong global demand for our wines,’ added Gregan.
The 2023 vintage was down 6% compared to the record-breaking levels seen in 2022, but producers reported that growing conditions were better on the South Island. By contrast, unprecedented wet weather made the season tough for regions in the North Island.
New Zealand – which famously shut itself off from the outside world during the pandemic – is also hoping for a tourism boost now that worldwide Covid-19 restrictions have eased.
‘Cellar doors are busy showcasing all that our unique wine regions have to offer, and alongside domestic holidaymakers, international tourists will be a welcome support for wine businesses,’ said Gregan.