New Zealand

About New Zealand Wines

New Zealand draws most of its wine growing inspiration from France, with the two main grape varieties of the country being Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. This dual climate region is not limited to these though and produces some great Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and more unusual varieties such as Petit Manseng and Albariño.

Key Grape Varieties and Regions
  • Marlborough: Sauvignon Blanc
  • Hawke’s Bay: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah
  • Central Otago and Martinborough: Pinot Noir

History

New Zealand is certainly still an emerging wine growing region. In its early days they mainly produced Müller-Thurgau for their own domestic market. The export market has of course become a huge success for New Zealand with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc undoubtedly the King of the crop.

It is easy to forget how small the area under vine is though – considering the breadth and quantity of wines on offer it may be surprising to know this growing area is equivalent to around about half the size of Bordeaux!

In the vineyard

New Zealand is divided into two islands – North and South – with a warm and humid climate in the North and cooler in the South. The South, whilst cooler, does see more sunshine hours than the North which encourages the ripening of the grapes.

The soil types are varied and climatic hazards are centred around rainfall, hail and birds. However, unlike the French, New Zealand winemakers can use vineyard practices as simple as netting to protect the vines against birds and hail, which in turn helps to keep vintage variation to a minimum.

Hennings Wine says

It’s easy to associate New Zealand’s wine with just Sauvignon Blanc but there is so much more to this little country. Look out for amazing Syrah, Tempranillo and Chardonnay. Even the Sauvignon Blanc is being experimented with, have a look for oaked Sauvignon from producers such as Dog Point or Churton’s incredible Best End!

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