Marks and Spencer wine buyer Jeneve Williams was in New Zealand recently to learn more about the country’s Lighter wines R&D initiative.
While here Williams met with Richard Lee of New Zealand Lighter Wines and Dr John Forrest, winemaker, of Forrest Wines. Her visit is in response to an increasing demand for New Zealand made wines, particularly those naturally lighter in alcohol, in the UK market.
Marks and Spencer has recently launched new 9.5 percent alcohol-by-volume own-label Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé wines, made by Dr Forrest, who is part of the New Zealand Lighter Wines programme.
Eighteen leading New Zealand premium wine companies are now taking part in the NZ$17million (£8.7m) NZ Lighter Wines research and development initiative, led by New Zealand Winegrowers and co-funded by the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP).
Williams, who is an ex-pat Kiwi, was first blown away by the quality of Forrest’s naturally produced lighter wines earlier this year. When she took a bottle of Forrest’s Sauvignon Blanc home to taste, her husband didn’t realise it was lower in alcohol. “He just thought it was a very nice and fresh New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc!”
Photo: Dr John Forrest, Jeneve Williams and Dr David Jordan of New Zealand Lighter Wines sample the new wine on a typically crisp South Island winter’s day.