Sue White and her late husband Greg established Renwick-based Whitehaven Winery in 1994.
Whitehaven’s distribution agreement with North American liquor giant E & J Gallo enabled the winery to become one of the first New Zealand wineries to penetrate the US market.
The first year’s shipment to the United States was 5000 cases in 2004.
By 2010 when the NZ government began actively promoting NZ wine exports to the US, Whitehaven had already become the favourite New Zealand wine being poured for American consumers.
By then, the US Wine and Spirits magazine had declared Whitehaven’s Sauvignon Blanc the top imported Sauvignon Blanc in US restaurants, Whitehaven had become the first Sauvignon Blanc ever to rate in the US Top 100 Wines selected by the US Restaurant Wine magazine and the winery had collected a string of medals from US wine shows.
“The North American consumer took some time to understand Sauvignon Blanc and I’m proud that Whitehaven played a significant part in paving the way for this variety in the US,” says Sue White.
Today, the winery concentrates on exporting its award-winning Sauvignon Blanc to the US but Whitehaven was also an early exporter of Marlborough Pinot Noir, picking up its first US medal for its pinot a decade ago.
“When Greg and I established the winery, he had ambitious plans for the US market which surprised some people in the business here at the time. But he could see a big future for Marlborough wine and his foresight has proven to be well-founded. He would be very proud to see us reach this millionth milestone*.”
*9 litre equivalent.