New Zealand leapt onto the world stage with Sauvignon Blanc, but the reds are also world class.
Where is it?
What are the main grapes grown?
Principally French varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The latter two are also used in sparkling production. On North Island, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah are also grown, notably in the Gimblett Gravels sub-region of Hawkes Bay, in Northland, and around Auckland.
What is distinctive about it?
The vineyards cover a stretch of about 1000 miles, from the subtropical north to Central Otago – the world’s most southerly vineyard area.
The country enjoys long sunshine hours and no vineyard is more than 80 miles from the ocean – bringing cooling sea breezes. The wine industry is big on environmental sustainability, organic agriculture – and 90% of its wine production is screw-capped.
The country enjoys long sunshine hours and no vineyard is more than 80 miles from the ocean.
How do you spot a good bottle?
Vines were first planted in the 1820s, making little more than “plonk”. It took the country 150 years to realise that they could make premium wine.
There are no official quality classifications, but it is widely regarded that Marlborough grows the best Sauvignon Blanc, while Central Otago and Martinborough are the best regions for Pinot Noir. The important Gimblett Gravels wine growing region – party of Hawke’s Bay – is a registered trademark.
It is widely regarded that Marlborough grows the best Sauvignon Blanc.
What are its classic dishes?
Wine took over from wool as the most exported product 10 years ago, but there’s no questioning NZ’s lamb quality to go with your Pinot Noir, Bordeaux blends or Syrah. Crayfish and whitebait fritters to go with your Chardonnay.
Imagine yourself there...
NZ is famous for its outdoor lifestyle. Grab a picnic basket and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and go for a long hike in the hills.