Ponsonby’s new Countdown supermarket on the corner of Ponsonby Road and Williamson Ave stocks over 1500 wines, thanks to Tim Carroll and Paul Brannigan, who describe the diverse range, the target customer and the role of Langton’s.

How many wines do you stock?

The Cellar at Countdown Ponsonby carries 1500 wines with 35% of the wine range being over $30 in retail price.

Who’s your target customer?

Ponsonby is one of Auckland’s most affluent suburbs and our customers here appreciate good food and a good drop. It’s vital not to alienate the everyday shopper and we also carry a large selection of wines at low prices to suit other budgets.

Who makes the buying choices?

It’s a team effort. Paul Brannigan is the wine category manager and leads a small team. Paul has more than 15 years wine buying experience, having joined Countdown 12 months ago from Moore Wilson’s in Wellington.

How much of the range is experimental?

We are constantly reviewing our range and it will always change based on customers’ evolving tastes. We anticipate significant continued growth in varietals such as rose, Pinot Noir, Prosecco, Champagne and European wines, which are currently high growth segments, along with a trend to lower alcohol wines and a trend back towards Chardonnay. There are no plans to trim down the range at this point.

Which wines are your biggest sellers?

Red wine is leading the charge as the most popular wine category in Countdown Ponsonby, however, time will tell if that continues, as we move into summer. We expect sparkling and particularly Champagne to be a stand out, with it already doing well for mid winter. The sheer range of 40 plus different Champagnes at Countdown Ponsonby contributes to that.

What’s your biggest red wine brand in sales terms?

At the moment our biggest sellers are Rabbit Ranch Central Otago Pinot Noir, which usually retails for around $23, and Devil’s Staircase Central Otago Pinot, which usually retails around $20.

What are the most unusual wines in store ?

We have more than 120 older vintage wines in The Cellar at Countdown Ponsonby, selected from Langton’s Wine House in Australia, and brought to New Zealand. We have many unusual wines, but the wines that get the most attention are a dozen back vintages of Penfolds Grange, including the 1976. Others that turn heads include 2003 Vina Tondonia Rioja and 2011 Elena Fucci Aglianico.

How much does the wide range of wines tap into food range?

There’s a strong focus on growing trends of health foods including organic, paleo and vegan options with 450 new products in this space.