Sileni Estates Winery Finds Ripe Market in US
Nigel Avery, CEO of Sileni Estates USA, and a former member of New Zealand’s Olympic weightlifting team, has moved his family to Minnesota while he works to expand sales and learn the US market as he prepares one day to succeed his father as the head of Sileni.
Avery hopes that the small but fast-growing Sileni can benefit from the increasing US interest in New Zealand wines, particularly sauvignon blanc. He’s also seeking to spur demand for Sileni Nano, a recyclable plastic cup and single-serve bottle of on-the-go wine.
What the Averys are missing, besides friends and family from back home, is produce from Hawke’s Bay, their home region and “the fruit bowl of New Zealand,” Avery said.
“You miss that because it’s so flavourful,” Avery said of the region’s fruits and vegetables. “I think that’s why our wine is also so flavourful.”
Sileni’s sauvignon blanc is a very good example of a wine that is increasingly in demand, said Ted Farrell, president of Haskell’s, which has a dozen wine shops in the state.
“New Zealand sauvignon blancs right now are probably one of the hottest categories in the market,” Farrell said. “People love the citrus nature of the wine. It’s very clean, very sharp and refreshing. It definitely helps to have a character like Nigel promoting those wines. If you could bottle up the energy Nigel has, you could conquer the world, that’s for sure.”
Original article by Todd Nelson, Star Tribune, July 21, 2015.