Kim Crawford, an internationally recognised wine brand, is commemorating a quarter-century this year, reflecting on 'kiwi' hard work, determination, and innovation that has resulted in a brand that is now cherished across the world.
Kim and Erica Crawford founded Crawford Wines, which has become one of New Zealand's most well-known wine companies. The Kim Crawford brand, which includes wines from two of New Zealand's most recognised districts, Marlborough and Hawke's Bay, has risen substantially over the previous 25 years, with yearly sales of $26.7 million, and is currently the largest New Zealand wine brand by volume in both the US and Canada.
Kim and Erica Crawford didn't arrive at their current level of success overnight; the powerhouse duo worked hard and played to their own strengths, with Kim crafting the wine and Erica managing the business.
After borrowing money against their home, the couple launched a 'virtual winery,' buying grapes from contract growers and making wine in other people's vineyards, defying the wine world's standards at the time.
Erica acknowledges scepticism in the industry and attitudes regarding their method to starting off, which prompted her to rise to the challenge and drive them to succeed. “In the mid 1990s, the world started noticing Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, so we decided to put it all on the line and start our own brand. Our approach to this was to counter a market flooded with oak aged Chardonnay and the result was a truly unique expression of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that stood out compared to existing examples on the market at the time,”
Crawford said. “We started this dream from our home in Auckland, New Zealand and hoped it would succeed. But taking the world by storm first came with a plethora of challenges and obstacles that tested us and saw us build a resilience we still carry with us today. We nearly lost it all at one point but it was fighting spirit and maverick attitude that kept us going,” Erica said.
Erica continues “we do things unconventionally, take risks, start things, and welcome difference – these are just some of the reasons that the Kim Crawford brand has resonated over the years”. From resilience came innovation and a continuing to push boundaries and set trends with Kim Crawford being the first wine label to move to screwcap closures in New Zealand, a practice that is an industry standard today.
Kim Crawford blew up in North America, bringing a level of freshness and flavour profile to these markets that had never been seen before. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc had now become a phenomenon in the wine industry, igniting a passion that would last for years to come.
Today, Kim Crawford forms part of Constellation Brand’s powerhouse portfolio of wines. Kim Crawford Winemaker, Brett Fullerton, says the continued changes in viticulture, seasons and sub- regional profiles is what makes Sauvignon Blanc so intriguing to make, “Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is so diverse each year which isn’t all that common within the wine world. To see a growing season and all the effort that goes into making wine come to life, we love seeing the evolution of Kim Crawford and the wines that are produced each vintage.”
Committed to innovation, Kim Crawford has an ever-developing product range such as the Illuminate Sauvignon Blanc, a low calorie, low alcohol, white wine option designed to fit with our lifestyle without impacting it.
The Illuminate Sauvignon Blanc is elegant yet full flavoured, offers crisp acidity and is highlighted with a refreshing herbal and citrus finish. A quintessential expression of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, the Kim Crawford Illuminate has a grassy, passionfruit nose and a palate alive with vibrant citrus of grapefruit, lemon and lime.
The Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is a benchmark Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, this classic and consistent wine has been named in the Wine Spectator Top 100 four times. It has lifted citrus, tropical notes with a racy, bright acidity. Pairs brilliantly with seafood, fresh summer salads or wonderful as an aperitif this spring.
“In the relentless pursuit of excellence, we believe in asking, why not”— Erica Crawford
I was gifted a bottle of the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc and a Kim Crawford Illuminate Sauvignon Blanc (lower calories and alcohol) and both are worth a try. I was impressed with the Illuminate, definitely worth having for those who prefer less alcohol and few calories.