LIVING A WORLDWIDE LEGACY
This year one of New Zealand’s oldest and most respected family-owned wine producers, Babich Wines, celebrates its 100th anniversary. It truly is an international success story, as 2016 also happens to mark 35 years of exports for the Babich brand.
This year one of New Zealand’s oldest and most respected family-owned wine producers, Babich Wines, celebrates its 100th anniversary, and 35 years of exports for the Babich brand.
It's surprising to learn that one of the best known New Zealand wine brands on the world stage was first exported from these shores somewhat by chance. In 1981, a German tourist came to the cellar door shop of Babich Wines in Henderson Valley, West Auckland, to try the wines of founder Josip Babich.
“He enjoyed what he tasted and asked my father if he could import a container of wine into Germany,” explains Babich Wines general manager, and Josip's grandson, David Babich. “Arrangements were put in place and the container left New Zealand shores around four weeks later.
“For my grandfather, seeing a container heading back to Europe, which he had left some 70 years earlier, was the high point of his winemaking career,” says David. “He died, aged 87, only two years later so he was not to know the company would continue to grow exports as the major part of the business.”
Indeed, Josip would be very pleased with the fact that today 90 percent of Babich Wines production is sold to export markets.
Not surprisingly, progress in export sales was painfully slow in the early days. New Zealand's export wine industry was in its infancy.
“At first no one knew anything about exporting, but we worked with a freight forwarder to understand the process better,” remembers David. “The logistical process was the easiest part. But understanding foreign exchange, how to price for the market, and how to support our wines