New Zealand wine is having a moment — just ask the VinePair team. The country’s wine regions, tiny in comparison to others around the world, are making huge strides in Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and more. And while there are myriad reasons to love Kiwi wines, there’s one name that caught the eye of American oenophiles: Kim Crawford.
Established in 1996, Kim Crawford Wines sparked American interest in New Zealand labels with its fun-focused messaging, easy-drinking bottles, and accessibility in price, profile, and availability online and in stores.
Think you’re savvy about the Savvy B brand American wine lovers can’t get enough of? Think again. Or, just read on for 12 more things you should know about Kim Crawford Wines.
Kim Crawford might be the reason you love New Zealand wines.
The U.S. saw its first bottles of Kim Crawford Wines in 1998, two years after the company’s founding. Since then, it has gained a cult-like following here in the States.
While this may simply be due to the brand’s name being easier for Americans to pronounce than most other Kiwi brands’ Maori names, Crawford attributes the brand’s success with his decision not to sweeten the wines — then a common practice among New Zealand wine brands attempting to accommodate Americans’ saccharine palates.
The Kiwi brand made its mark on the U.S.
Kim Crawford’s true identity might surprise you.
While many American consumers assume that Kim Crawford, founder and former owner of Kim Crawford Wines, is a woman, he is actually a man (Kim is considered a unisex name in New Zealand). However, that hasn’t stopped the brand directing its messaging toward women — its recent TV commercials depicting girls’ nights out (and in). Another surprise: While the brand is largely marketed to an urban audience, Crawford calls himself a “country boy.”
Kim Crawford was ahead of its time.
Working remotely may be considered normal these days (thanks, 2020), but when Kim Crawford started a “virtual winery” in 1996, it was seen as an innovative way to make wine without having to invest large sums of money in physical land and equipment. Crawford, already an experienced winemaker in New Zealand, decided to set up shop in his Auckland home, working with a variety of growers and producing his wine labels in local facilities.
The brand went from zero to 5,000 real quick.
A lot has changed in the 24 years since Kim Crawford was founded. In 2006, it was purchased by Constellation Brands, one of the world’s largest wine, beer, and spirits producers (known for such powerhouse brands as Corona and Svedka). The Kim Crawford brand now resides over almost 5,000 acres of land across New Zealand. The brand now produces seven different varieties in two of New Zealand’s most famous wine regions: Hawkes Bay, which is best known for its Chardonnay; and Marlborough, beloved for its Sauvignon Blanc.
Kim Crawford followed his heart.
The brand’s founder and namesake left the company in 2007 after its acquisition by Constellation, exiting with a cool $50 million. He and his wife, Erica Crawford, have since started a Marlborough-based wine brand called Loveblock, which specializes in organic and sustainable viticulture.
Kim Crawford bottles are made for easy access.
No corkscrew? No problem. All Kim Crawford wines have twist-off caps, making them easy to open while maintaining freshness. And, for those who want to take their wine on the go (or just want an even easier lift from the fridge), the brand also offers its Sauvignon Blanc in cans — an ideal package for picnics and gatherings.
The brand keeps it simple in the naming department, too, labeling wines after their varieties: Kim Crawford Chardonnay, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, and so on.
For the New Zealand winery, Sauvignon Blanc remains king.
Though New Zealand’s wine regions produce more than Sauvignon Blanc, the varietal is undoubtedly its largest, accounting for more than 60 percent of the country’s total output. So beloved is Sauvignon Blanc, it’s also the favorite Kim Crawford product by far: Of its eight products, Kim Crawford’s Sauvignon Blanc is the biggest seller by a landslide, accounting for 90 percent of the brand’s overall sales.
Kim Crawford wants you to ‘make it amazing,’ including in cocktails.
With the slogan, “Make it Amazing,” Kim Crawford keeps its messaging light and fun, and encourages its consumers to do the same. The site is full of instructions for do-it-yourself projects, entertainment tips, as well as recipes for appetizers, desserts, and, most importantly, cocktails. Mix Kim Crawford Pinot Noir with hot chocolate, or make a Paloma using Sauvignon Blanc at your next happy hour or dinner party.
The brand is an ace with tennis fans.
Kim Crawford was the official wine of the U.S. Open in 2019 and 2020. In 2019, over 100,000 glasses of Kim Crawford were sold at the event. And, though the Open was closed to spectators in 2020, fans were encouraged to watch from home and make frozé with Kim Crawford rosé.
Need wine on the fly? Kim Crawford delivers.
Available for purchase on Drizly, Wine.com, and Minibar, Kim Crawford wines can be purchased online or via apps and safely delivered to consumers’ doors — a fact that pleased socially distanced customers at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The wines are also available at Costco, as well as Trader Joe’s, to the delight of many VinePair readers.