Americans Heart New Zealand Wine | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Americans Heart New Zealand Wine

Americans Heart New Zealand Wine

New Zealand wines are popular in large part because of Sauvignon Blanc.

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Digg icon
e-mail icon

Americans like New Zealand wines more than anybody else in the world, even their next-door neighbors. The U.S. market has overtaken Australia, and is now valued at $372.2 million (around one quarter of wine exports), up 13 percent from last year, according to the 2015 Annual Report of New Zealand Winegrowers

Australia slipped to second place at $362.2 million, down 5 percent, while the United Kingdom was the third biggest export market for Kiwi wines, with exports growing 11 percent to $353.9 million. The U.S., Australia and the U.K. consume nearly four times as much New Zealand wine as Canada, the next biggest export market.

Most of this growth is due to the ongoing popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Indeed, overall exports of Sauvignon Blanc soared from 160.5 million liters in 2013-2014 to 177 million liters in 2014-2015. Total wine exports (now at 209.4 million liters) grew 7 percent (up from 186.8 million liters the year before) to $1.42 billion in 2014-2015. Of course, with the forthcoming short supply of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (as we noted previously), this volume will not be sustained.

As Steve Green, the New Zealand Winegrowers chair, notes in this report, “We expect further growth in export value in the year ahead, but volume growth will be constrained due to the smaller 2015 harvest.” On the plus side, as we’ve previously noted, the quality of the 2015 vintage is expected to be great, due to a fabulous summer creating excellent conditions for ripening grapes, even though the crop yields were diminished by 27 percent due to an unexpected spring frost.

There are just two kosher New Zealand producers, Goose Bay and O’Dwyers Creek Vineyards, we are fans of both producers, as both offer some great quality and value. As we recommended the 2013 Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc ($20) fairly recently, consider the competition. O’Dwyers Creek Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($17): This mevushal, single estate-grown Sauv Blanc offers that iconic grapefruit profile of the Marlborough region, with some lovely peach and tropical notes, a grassy, slightly vegetal edge, some lovely acidity and good balance. Crisp, interesting and refreshing, this is a lovely wine that also delivers great quality for the price.

Join The Discussion