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Tussock Jumper wine brand finally arrives in UK thanks to Amazon

Published:  21 August, 2014

Tussock Jumper - a 2 million bottle selling wine brand internationally - has eventually arrived in the UK via Amazon after finding the market's 'gatekeepers' difficult to bypass.  

Tussock Jumper - a 2 million bottle selling global wine brand internationally - has eventually arrived in the UK via Amazon after finding the market's traditional 'gatekeepers' difficult to bypass.

Gert-Jan Van Arkel, co-founder of the brand, which is varietal rather than country specific, believes the firm can reach sales of 10 million bottles internationally by the end of 2015.

Tussock JumperTussock Jumper has finally made it to UK shoresThe varietal-specific brand has arrived in the UK after finding entering the market here challenging. It is now working with to sell its wines. The British bulldogs are part of its UK marketing campaign.

The brand originated in 2011 when Van Arkel was sourcing a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and spotted the label with a sheep on it. After showing it around, buyers started to ask what was in the rest of the range, so a herd of different animals was born to represent the 17 wines, from 11 countries, in the range - all wearing the distinctive red jumper.

"The big thing about Tussock Jumper is that it's not production driven," Van Arkel said. It can respond to grape variety shortages or price increases by focusing on another country or variety or another product in its portfolio.

To date the brand's biggest market is Ukraine, followed by Russia. Aftter the UK launch the next focus area is Asia, Van Arkel told

"This kind of brand kind of exists through supermarket own brands [in the UK] like Tesco Finest or Sainsbury's Taste the Difference, and some buyers saw our brand as competing with their own wines. Our other biggest problem is that we have 17 wines, and we're looking to grow to 19. Not a lot of people would have the ability to list even five wines at once. One wine is just a label, not a brand."

He said entry to the UK market was made more difficult given "six or seven people decide what will be on the shelves".

After partnering with UK distributor GM Drinks, it started talking to Amazon and thought the site would be a perfect way to introduce its whole range to consumers. Van Arkel said: "I was present at Wine Vision  last November and heard Amazon talk about  their plans for wine," which inspired him to become a partner.

It is selling its wine in three-bottle packs, designed by Amazon to streamline logistics and minimise breakages.

It has been looking to drive brand awareness in the UK with a launch ad on YouTube featuring British bulldogs wearing its signature red jumper. It will be running further marketing, as "you can't just wait for sales, you've got to support the brand in an original way," said Van Arkel.