Exton Park Vineyard, on the chalk slopes of Hampshire’s South Downs, has become the latest English wine to jump on the export bandwagon. Having won over twenty Silver and Gold medals since the launch some 18 months ago – and an enviable reputation for clean, elegant premium quality wines – Exton Park is keen to maintain its niche positioning both at home, and now abroad.
That has been reflected in the first two export orders now on their way to the US and Italy, home of Prosecco and Franciacorta.
In the States, specialist distributor Primrose Fine Wines will be selling Exton Park’s Brut Reserve, Blanc de Noirs and Rose NV, together with the Gold medal winning Blanc de Blancs 2011 into high-end restaurants and boutique retailers in New York State, where English fizz is already seen as this year’s ‘must have’ wine. Englishman Ian Primrose, who previously worked in US corporate IT, is keen to promote his country’s products – and capitalise on his wealth of contacts on New York City and beyond.
“This is exactly where we want to begin in the US,” explains Kit Ellen, Exton Park’s sales and marketing manager. “It is always important to establish and hold the premium ground, particularly for a single estate like ours, where production is limited due to our policy of low yields and top quality. Obviously this is the start of our relationship with the States. We also have a longer term goal to target the West Coast , where the demand for this fashionable sparkling wine grows daily. ’
Meanwhile, another shipment is on its way – this time to Modena, chosen by Premiere Italia , the family-owned leading sparkling wine importer and national distributor in Italy. Over 600 of their sparkling wine trade customers tasted Exton Park’s range at the company’s Annual Portfolio tasting last month – and as a result of the interest, the first order was placed the same day.
“It was phenomenal,” Kit Ellen continues. “We were mobbed at the tasting because everyone wanted to try this new, emerging wine sector that is on everybody’s lips. The following day, I went out with the sales force and gained our first listing – O.W. Renato in Merano, Trentino Alto-Adige. What’s more, the restaurant will be serving Exton Park wine as the aperitif at the major O.W. spring/ summer event with fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo, and later on at the Mini Merano Wine Festival in Munich and Vienna. Selling English sparkling wine to Italy – what a turn up for the books!”