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Fledgling New Zealand wine brand Te Pa says UK is top priority

Published:  19 June, 2014

Fledgling New Zealand wine brand Te Pa is aiming to harvest a million plus cases per year within the next five to 10 years and is targeting the UK first.

Vineyard owner Haysley MacDonald believes opportunities for growth in the UK are ripe, given New Zealand's previous success combined with a number of major players being seduced away by US opportunities.

New Zealand wine brand Te PaTe Pa is looking to up production to a million plus cases per year within the next five to 10 yearsNew Zealand wine brand Te Pa, which means 'our place' is planning to focus on the UK market as a number of Kiwi brands start to look outside at opportunities elsewhere, especially in the USA.

MacDonald is from an entrepreneurial family, with many interests across the agricultural spectrum - including dairy, potatoes, supplying machinery to the sector and now wine.  He reconnected with childhood friend and ex-Marisco winemaker Liam McElhinney - to make his way in the wine world. Vines were first planted on his land in 2003 with the first Te Pa vintage produced in 2011.

MacDonald told  that it is already exporting to the UK, through the Wine Fusion, as well as China and Singapore. He is also planning to export to the US and Canada within the next six months. But he was keen to point out that "the UK is one of, if not the most important market for New Zealand wines", adding that as a number of fellow Kiwi brands are placing greater emphasis on US markets and "pulling away slightly from the UK", it was planning to strengthen its base.  

Te Pa Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker McElhinney said the group's vineyards are on some of Marlborough's most sought-after sites, meaning he doesn't have to coax anything out of the wines, which are naturally expressive.

"The Sauvignon Blanc is purely about the vineyard expressing itself. At the Ned [where he worked as winemaker prior to this role] it was down to minerality and slatiness from the alluvial soils there, but at Te Pa we've got big, deep, fertile, rich soils which give big explosive flavours".

McElhinney described his recent trip to the UK as "mind-blowing", since the range had expanded to include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and a rosé. "It just gives us a little more pulling power and in particular some of them are a little outside the box. People do have a sniff and taste of our Sauvignon Blanc and say 'it's quintessential Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - what else do you do?'. "

He said critics are interested to find out what New Zealand is doing that's "new and fresh". This year's production was extremely limited, and now that interest from a host of international markets is hotting up, Te Pa plans to expand production. "We've acquired more vineyards and plantings," said McElhinney.