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Accolade Wines announces exciting new sponsorship deal with the legendary British & Irish Lions

Wednesday 9th March 2016

Accolade Wines announces exciting new sponsorship deal with the legendary British & Irish Lions

Accolade Wines, the UK’s leading wine supplier, has announced its latest major sponsorship deal. Its award winning wine brand, Mud House is set to become an Official Sponsor of the British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand in 2017. At a joint press briefing today  Accolade Wines CEO, Paul Schaafsma and the British & Irish Lions COO, Charlie McEwen confirmed the Lions 2017 tour partnership to an audience of wine and sports media at New Zealand House, London.

Paul Schaafsma said: “We are extremely excited to be part of the next British & Irish Lions Tour in New Zealand.  A Lions tour is huge, especially one to the home of the World Champions, so the potential reach for Mud House, in all our  operating regions, is phenomenal. 


We have high ambitions for our already successful Mud House brand. We’ll be working closely with the British & Irish Lions to activate a £2m support campaign here in the UK and the team in New Zealand will also be activating our partnership on the ground ahead of the tour commencing next June.  

We are also very proud to be working with our new Mud House brand ambassadors, Sean and Jason, who are here today and I would personally like to thank them for their support so far.”

Rugby legends and now Mud House brand ambassadors, former All Black skipper Sean Fitzpatrick and England’s much loved former winger Jason Robinson, were present at the press briefing to help promote this exciting new partnership.

British & Irish Lions Chief Operating Officer Charlie McEwen said: “We are delighted to partner with Mud House Wines as an official sponsor and wine supplier. Accolade Wines are the premier wine supplier in the UK and to have a quality New Zealand wine such as Mud House is fantastic.”

Selling more than 3 million bottles a year, Mud House is now the fastest growing NZ brand in the UK (growing at 214% by value and 221% by volume vs the NZ category, which is growing at 10% by both value and volume)*.  These impressive results make Mud House bigger than The Ned and Giesen combined and over the last year, a glass of Mud House wine was purchased every minute in the UK.

Marketing Director, Amy White said: “We are extremely proud of the success we’ve had with Mud House over the last 18 months and we have high ambitions for future successes, which this partnership will undoubtably support us achieving.

We are further strengthening our association with rugby through sponsorship of all  Southern Hemisphere rugby to be broadcast on Sky Sports UK throughout 2016. This coverage will include the Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship, The Mitre 10 Cup and The Currie Cup.

To support this sponsorship, we’ve filmed a set of idents, starring five legends of rugby  who have either played for, or against, the Lions. Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand), Jason Robinson (England), Gavin Hastings (Scotland), Shane Williams (Wales) and Paul Wallace (Ireland) all feature and the  strapline; ‘It’s as clear as Mud’ plays on the not so obvious relationship between wine and rugby in a jovial yet premium way”.

The Lions Tour of New Zealand will consist of 10 games played throughout the country between June 3 and July 8, including three Test matches against the double World Champions.


For further information contact:

Hannah Burns, PR & Events Manager, Accolade Wines UK | +44 (0) 7880 173178 |

About Mud House Wines

Mud House is now the 5th largest New Zealand wine brand in the UK.  Growing at 214% by value and 221% by volume*, Mud House is the fastest growing brand in the New Zealand category.

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Central Otago Pinot Noir are the 2 core SKUs in this range but other varietals are available, such as the Marlborough Pinot Gris (Majestic) and the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Rose (Morrisons).

Stockists of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – Tesco, JS, Morrisons, Waitrose, Majestic and independent specialists.

Stockists of Central Otago Pinot Noir – Tesco, JS, Majestic and independent specialists.

Tasting Note for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Crisp and vibrant with concentrated fruit flavours. Tropical fruits on the front palate meld perfectly with the zesty grapefruit acidity giving the wine a juicy and refreshing finish.

Tasting Note for Central Otago Pinot Noir

Bold fruit flavours fill the front palate and meld perfectly with the spicy oak. Fine acid gives the wine lovely structure, punctuated by the red fruit and oak tannins.

*A C Nielsen, MAT data to w/e 30th Jan 2016.

About Accolade Wines

Headquartered in Australia, Accolade Wines is one of the world's largest wine companies, delivering over 35 million cases (9 litre equivalent) to 143 countries annually.  With a comprehensive portfolio of market leading brands, Accolade Wines is the largest wine company in the UK with 13% share of this market.  Hardys continues to hold the number 1 brand position (by volume and value) in the UK.  Echo Falls is the third largest wine brand in the UK (by volume and value) and continues to hold its number 1 brand position in the UK Impulse channel.  Kumala is the largest South African wine brand in the UK (by volume and value) and Jack Rabbit is now the largest wine brand in the UK On Trade channel with Hardys and Accolade's Stowells wine brand retaining the 2nd and 3rd brand position in this channel.  The companies enviable portfolio also includes premium wine brands Grant Burge, Houghton Reynella, Leasingham and Bay of Fires (Australia), Waipara Hills (New Zealand), Geyser Peak (California), Fish Hoek & Flagstone (South Africa) and its latest acquisition, Viña Anakena (Chile).  Accolade Wines is now the first company to have a footprint in all major New World wine regions and has cemented its position as the leading New World supplier of premium and commercial wines.  Chief Executive Officer, Paul Schaafsma says “In reaching and retaining this position, we have always strived to provide compelling solutions to our customers and consumers alike and from vineyard to glass, we put our heart and soul into delivering great quality wines at every price point".

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