Quintessential, a family-owned and operated import, marketing and sales company that represents family-owned wineries from around the world, will be the sole U.S. importer for two New Zealand brands — Forrest Wines and Rongopai.
“These standout New Zealand sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs are exactly what the U.S. market craves,” says Dennis Kreps, co-owner of Quintessential. “They are distinctive, quality-driven wines that are crafted with the utmost care and respect for the environment and future generations. We look forward to expanding their footprint in the U.S.”
Forrest Wines was founded in 1988 by Doctors John and Brigid Forrest. John was one of the leaders in implementing screwcaps through his research on bottle closures, the company says.
Beth Forrest, John and Brigid’s daughter, graduated from Adelaide University with a master’s degree in Oenology, and officially joined Forrest in 2015 as general manager and winemaker. She is also a leader in her own right, as the first Chairwoman of the Marlborough Wine-Grower’s Association and is involved with several other New Zealand wine industry groups.
Forrest uses both sheep in the vineyards to act as natural lawn mowers and plants wildflowers between the vineyard rows to balance micronutrients, reducing the need to add chemical nutrients to the soil, the company says. Forrest is certified sustainable by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.
The 2022 Forrest Wines Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (SRP: $21.99) will be available nationally by January 2023. A new, low-alcohol label, named after Brigid, will launch in the US in early 2023. The Brigid Sauvignon Blanc (SRP: $19.99) and Pinot Noir (SRP: $22.99) will only be sold in the US.
Founded in 1932, the winery moved to Marlborough in 2007, and converted its vineyards to 100% certified sustainable farming practices.
The name “Rongopai” means “good taste and good feeling,” and features on its labels the uncurling Koru design as a symbol of creation and growth, the company says.
“At Rongopai, we’re dedicated to sustainability,” says Sean Hutchinson, General Manager. “Our winemaking philosophy is one of ‘te kotahitanga,’ the Māori concept of unity and support, in pursuit of a shared goal. Our winemaking team brings together diverse perspectives, experience and knowledge so we’re able to produce a range of wines that are an authentic reflection of our diverse soils and climate.”
The 2022 Rongopai Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (SRP: $15.99) and Pinot Noir (SRP: $24.99) will be available nationally by January 2023.