Surpassing several major wine producing countries, New Zealand has again been ranked the third biggest wine importer (dollar value) to the USA.
This milestone was first reached in 2016, and statistics from the latest Gomberg Fredrikson Report show New Zealand wine has achieved it again in 2017.
Last year the total value of New Zealand wine imported to the US reached US$422 million, up 6% on 2016 and surpassed only by Italy (US$1.9 billion) and France (US$1.8 billion).
New Zealand sits ahead of Australia, Spain, Argentina and Chile.
NZ Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan says it’s an incredible achievement, given New Zealand produces less than 1% of the world’s wine.
“What began as just a few hundred thousand cases per year in the late 1990s, is now over 7.7 million cases imported to the US per annum,” he says.
“We have a reputation for premium quality and innovation. New Zealand itself is also a vital part of the success, with our sustainability practices and clean, green image very attractive to consumers, meaning they are prepared to pay a premium for our wines.”
New Zealand’s varietal offering to the United States is led by Sauvignon Blanc, with a strong supporting cast of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Syrah.
The Gomberg Fredrikson Report shows New Zealand shipments of red wines to the US grew by 23% in 2017, indicating the quality of New Zealand reds, and particularly Pinot Noir, is being embraced by trade and consumers.
Overall NZ wine import volumes to the US grew by 5% in 2017.
Owner of the Gomberg Fredrikson Report, Jon Moramarco, says New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc continues to be extremely popular, with its distinctive style and flavor driving imports.
“Having said that, people are really starting to recognise New Zealand reds, and particularly Pinot Noir. While not inexpensive, the price point tends to be attractive for such high quality, and it’s something other countries struggle to compete with,” he says.