Over-oaked, under-priced and over here
Founder/owner wine retailer at First Glass Wines, Kingsley Wood, claims that the sale of wines from the US has climbed dramatically in recent years. Californian chardonnay leads the growth, according to Woods, a self-proclaimed fan of the “big and buttery style”.
“Bogle Chardonnay from California with a retail price of NZD $20 is now our second biggest selling Chardonnay and Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve is also incredibly popular. Customer’s love this style of wine, scornfully described by many local winemakers as ‘old fashioned’, says Wood. “It may be old-fashioned but it’s exactly what our customers want – lots of weight and flavour with a creamy texture.”
US wines were imported in quantity in the seventies, although they never really established a strong presence and gradually faded as the Kiwi dollar weakened. Now a strong Kiwi dollar and a competitive US wine market has encouraged several US wineries to target New Zealand and they also have a style of chardonnay that few New Zealand wineries attempt to produce.
“It’s not just Chardonnay” added Woods, “flavoursome red wines such as zinfandel and petit sirah are also competitively priced and are being snapped up by our customers”.