New Zealand

New Zealand Wine

New Zealand is a secluded island nation in the Pacific Ocean. This Island nation lies a thousand miles or thereabout south-east of Australia. New Zealand lies between latitudes 36°S and 45°S, making it the southernmost wine-producing nation in the world. The country has 10 important wine-growing regions spread across its North and South Islands, with Marlborough as the most important.

New Zealand makes a variety of wines, the most popular of which are the grassy whites, and pungent made from Sauvignon Blanc, located in Marlborough. Pinot Noir has also proved to be a suitable variety to New Zealand's terroir particularly in Marlborough, Martinborough, and is most popular in Central Otago, where the wines can be described as muscular and dense with strong flavors of dark fruit. The aromatic varietals such as Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer have found a niche in the cooler regions of the South Island. Syrah & Bordeaux Blend varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc) thrive in the warmer regions of the North Island.

The first vines were introduced in Northland in 1819 and were grown by James Busby, the father of antipodean viticulture. James Busby would, later on, establish Australia's Hunter Valley wine region. Vines were introduced by the missionaries to the Hawkes Bay in the 1850s, and towards the end of the 19th and early 20th Century, gum-digging Dalmatian settlers planted vines throughout Northland and Auckland, thus setting the foundation for the modern wine industry in New Zealand.

For much of the 20th Century, the North Island, located to the east coast, had the most vineyards. Most of the wine made was just for local consumption. New Zealand wines were not exported wine until the 1970s when development thrived in the vineyard areas. New Zealand wines were first exported in 1973, the current Bracott Estate, (formerly Montana), an Auckland-based wine producer, bought land in Marlborough's Wairau Valley. After several setbacks with poorly selected grape varieties and the scourge of phylloxera, in 19980s and 1990s Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc took off in a big way. It produced a style of wine that was applauded for its forwardness, and herbaceous, sweaty tasty.

New Zealand

Most wine regions in New Zealand are characterized by a maritime climate. Since the country takes a long, thin geographical shape, the vineyards are never over (120km) 75 miles from the coast, and many of them are even much closer than this. The semi-continental Central Otago area is the only exception. A spine of mountains cut through the middle of the country from Tongariro National Park, located in the North Island, to the Southern Alps in the South Island. This mountain block shields most of the main wine regions from the strong westerly winds blowing from the Tasman Sea. These winds are popularly known as the Roaring Forties. These winds affect winegrowing to the west coast of New Zealand and only a few wine regions can be found here.

New Zealand lies on the boundary between the Indo-Australian and the Pacific tectonic plate. The country, especially in the North Island, has volcanic soils that characterize various wine regions. Wine regions in the South Island are characterized by geographical glacial movement. Schist and Greywacke form much of the soil in the country's vineyards, which sit on a diverse range of sites, from mountainsides to hilly farmland to river terraces.

Available in New Zealand

Sauvignon Blanc 38%
Pinot Noir 23%
Chardonnay 9%
Pinot Gris 6%
Riesling 4%
Beer 4%
Syrah 2%
Other 14%
Discover Wine Regions in New Zealand