Wineries band together

A group of specialist wineries have banded together to retail their wines in an attempt to expand their markets.

The Specialist Winegrowers of New Zealand group was formed by five boutique wineries, each specialising in one variety or style. All are positioned at the premium end of the market.

Marlborough winery No1 Family Estate, which specialises in methode traditionelle, is one of the five.

The other wineries are Gisborne producer Vinoptima Estate, which specialises in gewurztraminer, Central Otago pinot noir-maker Wooing Tree, Waiheke Island syrah producer The Hay Paddock, and fellow Waiheke Island winery Destiny Bay Wines, which makes Bordeaux blends.

No1 Family Estate co-owner Adele Le Brun said the group was a marketing alliance focusing on expanding the members' wine into niche top-end markets.

As a small boutique winery, it could be hard on your own, but this was a way to work together, she said.

"As we're not competing you can be as enthusiastic about everyone else's wines. It's four times more exposure."

Mrs Le Brun said the group had a conference call once a week to keep in touch.

Founding member Mike Spratt, of Destiny Bay, said the group represented the best of New Zealand's wine styles, but each winery had its own story.

"The world's fine-wine markets are looking for precisely these attributes in their wines, but the cost of reaching them and telling our stories to them individually is daunting, if not prohibitive."

Collectively they could have a single point of access, he said.

Mrs Le Brun said the group was still looking to include other specialist wineries. She said specialist producers of riesling and chardonnay were high up its list.

The group plans to launch with a formal dinner in Auckland on March 9.

The Marlborough Express