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Interview of Ms. Fleur McCree – Co-founder & Managing Partner – VINULTRA for AsiaImportNews – Exclusive
Could you please tell us the story of your winery, when it was created and how it developed decades after decades ?
We’re a youthful company, founded only 2002, first vintage 2008. We started with an unloved sheep farm located in an intimate part of Marlborough, an area known as the Southern Valley’s. We selected the site specifically for its suitability for cool climate grape production – sheltered, at the foot of the Southern Alps, free-draining alluvial soils, a pure aquifer, extreme diurnal temperatures….and importantly, a feeling of ‘harmony and soul’. We took 7-years to complete the development, all the time funding it by commuting between New Zealand and London (and travelling to other wine growing regions of Europe observing and learning). Responding to how fragmented the market place have become, we have created three propositions;
- Little Beauty. A limited edition range, of five varietals, all single vineyard, all 100% varietal integrity. Complex, balanced and elegant wines complementing On Premise channels. The branding is modern, stylish and with individuality’. You will find Little Beauty strategically positioned in luxury hotels and Michelin Star restaurants around the world. littlebeauty.co.nz
- These wines can be described as ‘playful’, with the leading varietals Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. These wines celebrate and accentuate the sensory aspects of wine. They have strong regional typicity and suit mid-tier on premise or independent retail. The packaging is visionary and educational. During 2017 if you fly American Airlines First Class, you’ll find Insight. www.insightwines.com
- These wines offer exceptional value for money. Pure & inviting wines that will leave you wanting more. These wines typify New Zealand’s character and ‘mana’ (spirit). POUNAMU is a Maori word for Green Stone, which is only found in the South Island of New Zealand, not far from where these grapes are grown. To New Zealander’s POUNAMU is treasured, it signfies wisdom and when close to you, its said to promote ‘courage, humility, longevity and harmony’. www.pounamuwineco.nz (site coming soon).
What sort of wines are you producing ?
We specialise in Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Dry Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. We have stylistic variations within, targeting specific segments of the market. For example, as well as stainless steel fermentation Sauvignon Blanc (as one expects from Marlborough) we also produce a barrel-fermantion style with indingenous yeast. And as well as a stainless steel fermentation Gewurztraminer in an off-dry style, we also have a fully botrytised Gewurztraminer at 168 grams residual sugar. Importantly, all our wines are made with a ‘strong sense of place’, with integrity and authenticity. We are firm believer’s that « the wine is made in the vineyard…».
How important are your export distribution compared to national distribution ?
Extremely important, our primary focus.
What sort of distributors are your customers ?
Ultimately we look for like-mindedness. Companies that have the similar ideologies, and who excel in the channels we are targeting. We like to work with partners with certain wines in their portfolios, and who are privately owned or family owned. We value openness and very much appreciate good communication.
Why your wines are different from other wineries in your area ?
Every wine produced from the VINULTRA portfolio is classified ‘Single Vineyard’. So what you see when you taste across the range is a true sense of terroir. They have an elegance and a balance that makes them uplifting to drink. They have integrity and purity.
When it comes to market knowledge and preparedness, we excel. We offer strong support packages which also includes regional resourcing with a Bangkok based Asia-Pacific Regional Manager, who is very experienced and active in supporting all Asia markets.
Do you produce grapes in a organic or environmental friendly method, or with general methods ?
All our wines are produced to comply with New Zealand’s very strict ‘Sustainable’ standards.
Are your wines already distributed in Asia, and if not what are the countries you are looking for new distributors ?
We presently have fantastic distribution partners in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
We are seeking to develop long-terms relationships in China, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia.
Is there anything who want to add about your wines, story or any news ?
Key accolades received since launch:
- International Trophy ‘Best in Show’ for Riesling at Decanter World Wine Awards.
- 90-point Wine Advocate ratings for two of our Sauvignon Blanc’s (only 12 90/91 in total were awarded and we got two of them).
- 91 Points Allen Meadows Burghound for Little Beauty Black Edition Pinot Noir.
- Mundus Vini International Wine Awards ‘Best in Show’ for Little Beauty Black Edition Pinot Noir.
- Multiple Gold at Sakura Japan Awards.
- Dozens of Gold, Silvers, and Bronzes at International level.
Winemaker: Eveline Fraser – highly experienced and talented, formerly of Cloudy Bay fame.
For any visitors to ProWein Dusseldorf this year, you will find all wines being showcased Hall 9, stand A60.
Thank you very much Ms. Fleur McCree – Co-founder & Managing Partner – VINULTRA for your time and answers!