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To Russia with Love, from Saint Clair Family Estate

09 April 2008 Top New Zealand Wines Introduced to Russian Market

Marlborough based winery, Saint Clair Family Estate, has sent its first shipment of its award-winning wine to an emerging wine drinking nation, Russia.

A country more often associated with vodka, Saint Clair hopes to offer a quality alternative to Russians, where an economic boom and growing affluence has created an opportunity for the wine and hospitality industry.

Although Russia is Saint Clair’s 45th export market, it is especially exciting for the family-owned winery, because wine has the highest growth rate out of all alcoholic beverages. Expected to rise dramatically, current per capita wine consumption sits at around 7.2 litres per annum.

Saint Clair’s managing director, Neal Ibbotson says, “We are very excited to be able to share our passion with a country that is only just beginning to explore the varieties of wine available. The wines that enter the market now, in its growth phase, will have an impact on the popularity of wine in the future, and we are delighted to be part of this unique opportunity.”

An overwhelming majority of alcohol sold in Russia is through off-premise trade (94 per cent) with only six per cent of alcohol bought through on-premise (restaurants and bars). However with the growing hospitality industry, on-premise sales are expanding rapidly, especially in Moscow and St Petersburg, where there is a higher concentration of population and disposable income.

In addition to this, wine popularity is being fueled by a growing awareness of health consciousness, including the benefits of wine, and an escalating interest in Western culture.

With an estimated ten percent of the population believed to be alcoholics, it is hoped that augmentation of the wine industry will help to promote a more sophisticated drinking environment, offering a beverage other than the popular and cheap vodka that is available in Russia.

Consequently Saint Clair has targeted bars and restaurants (rather than price discounted hyper markets), recently sending its first order of Saint Clair Reserve and Saint Clair Pioneer Block wines.

For a company that only began 14 years ago, Saint Clair Family Estate has proven itself to be an industry leader, not just within the domestic market, but also around the globe.

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