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.

Exporter - - CONTENTS - By Glenn Baker.

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

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