The new partnership means that UK wine distributor North South Wines will now import, distribute and promote Tohu and Kono Wines in the United Kingdom.
Tohu Wines was established in 1998 and is acknowledged as the first Māori-owned and operated wine label. Since 2002, Tohu Wines has been growing its own grapes, and in 2004 expanded to include a new brand, Kono Wines. In 2012, the purchase of a winery in the remote Awatere Valley, in Marlborough, gave the opportunity to control and optimise all aspects of the winemaking process.
North South Wines will add four Tohu Wines: Awatere Valley sauvignon blanc, Awatere Valley pinot noir, Awatere Valley pinot gris, Wairau Valley chardonnay, as well as the Kono Wines sauvignon blanc. All Tohu and Kono wines are made by chief winemaker, Bruce Taylor, and his team at the Tohu winery. The wines are made from premium fruit grown predominantly in vineyards in the Awatere and Wairau Valleys, sub-regions of Marlborough.
With a cooler and drier climate than other parts of Marlborough, the Awatere Valley sub-region is gaining a reputation for producing award-winning wines. Tohu Awatere Valley sauvignon blanc 2019 was selected for the Fine Wines of New Zealand list for 2020; the third time a Tohu produced wine has made the list. The Kono Wines sauvignon blanc has featured on the cover of Wine Spectator magazine, which has also chosen it as its ‘Best Value’ wine six times.
Kim Wilson, Managing Director and Founder of North South Wines said, ‘We are excited to be partnering with Tohu and Kono Wines. They make stunning wine while ensuring their practices and management have as minimal impact as possible on the land – a great fit to our sustainable range.’
Dan Taylor, Export Wine Sales Manager for Tohu and Kono Wines commented, ‘We are thrilled to have our wine in such capable hands, with North South Wines helping us to tell our unique story of kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection of the land). North South Wines is a dynamic and forward-thinking business which aligns with our future ambitions.’
The wines will be available via all channels, with a focus on independent and specialist retail.