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New Zealand's first Māori-owned wine brand appoints UK distributor

Māori family-owned food and beverage business Kono NZ has appointed North South Wines as UK distributor for its Tohu and Kono Wines brands.

The partnership will see North South Wines import, distribute and promote Tohu and Kono Wines in the UK.

Established in New Zealand in 1998, Kono NZ is acknowledged as the first Māori-owned and operated wine label. Since 2002, Tohu Wines has been growing its own grapes, and the business expanded in 2004 to include Kono Wines. 

The purchase of a winery in the remote Awatere Valley in Marlborough in 2012 gave the company the opportunity to control and improve all aspects of the winemaking process, conducted under the watchful eye of chief winemaker Bruce Taylor.

North South Wines will be adding five wines from the company to its portfolio: the Awatere Valley sauvignon blanc, Awatere Valley pinot noir, Awatere Valley pinot gris and Wairau Valley chardonnay from Tohu Wines, and the Kono Wines sauvignon blanc. The wines will be available in a variety of channels with a focus on independent and specialist retail.

Kim Wilson, founder and managing director of North South Wines, said: "We are excited to be partnering with Tohu and Kono Wines. They making stunning wine while ensuring their practices and management have as minimal an impact as possible on the land - a great fit for our sustainable range."

Dan Taylor, export wine sales manager for Tohu and Kono Wines, added: "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."

8 October 2020 - Bethany Whymark