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Saint Clair Puts Heart and Seoul into South Korea

10 October 2007

Neal and Judy Ibbotson, owners of Saint Clair Estate Wines Saint Clair’s Newest Global Market Opportunity

One of the world’s most advanced countries has developed an advanced palate for wine with rapidly rising wine imports increasing from US$19.8m in 2000 to US$88.6m in 2006.

One of our own homegrown winemaking stars is benefiting from this rise. Family-owned, Saint Clair Estate Wines now exports to 45 markets around the globe and its newest market is South Korea.

A culture with a long tradition of alcohol production and consumption, the South Koreans are the second largest per capita consumers of alcoholic beverages in the world and with growing tastes in Western culture and lifestyle, its developing wine consumption is evidenced by growing wine media (the Koreans have three well-developed wine magazines) and widely available wine education.

A strong and growing economy with resulting increased affluence, Koreans are keen experimenters and are avidly trying new foods and beverages. Red wine dominates market share due to the ‘wellness’ movement and the perceived health benefits of red wine (total red wine share is 75%) presenting a good opportunity for New Zealand Pinot Noir and Merlot.

Neal Ibbotson, owner of Saint Clair Estate wines comments, “This is an exciting new market for us as it is developing so quickly. However, it is not without its challenges. There is a general lack of wine awareness by a large proportion of the market and consumers are driven by ‘country of origin’ and believe that European wines, especially French, are better quality*. We will be supporting Saint Clair with a marketing programme to help build the brand and stand out from the clutter, which we hope benefits the whole New Zealand wine industry.”

Saint Clair has also just entered two other new Asian markets - Taiwan and Japan and other new markets entered in the last 12 months, include India, Slovenia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland.

Saint Clair Estate Wines was founded in 1994 and has received a multitude of prestigious awards and trophies from around the world. The company now has six significant regional vineyard sites and excellent knowledge and experience of which varieties grow best at each site. A high-tech, state of the art, winery opened in March 2006, further enhancing the prestige quality of their wines. This family-owned Marlborough winery is experiencing phenomenal success on an international and domestic level.

Prepared on behalf of Saint Clair Estate Wines by the pr shop. For further information please contact Pippa Lekner on (09) 368 1078, 021 500 760 or email