Even when visiting an ordinary supermarket in New Zealand, let alone specialized wine stores, one can’t help noticing the abundanse of wines from local vineries. But as it turns out you can also find New Zealand’s wines in the finest shops and restaurants all over the world, since a big part of New Zealand’s wine is being exported.
Mother Nature blessed New Zealand with everyting that is so crucial in creating great wine – rich soil, abundance of rainfall, sunshine, and natural bays, which protect the vineyards from strong winds. But despite this, the indigenous Maori population has never grown grapes and made wine, and outer world would never know the taste of New Zealand’s wine if it were not for missionaries who came there, and among them priest Semuel Marsden.
Semuel Marsden founded first New Zealand’s vineyards near Kerikeri in 1819. Sixteen years later James Busby (1801-1871) planted grapes from France and Spain. Ever since that time New Zealanders have adopted the winery lifestyle, in which rural life, study, and work closely intertwined with winemaking.
Growth of Wine Industry
Rapidly developing technology and wine research made it possible to expand the wine industry over to the territories, which were previously considered unsuitable for vineyards, and also improved the properties of grapes. The vast variety of soils found in New Zealand gave familiar types of wines exceptional taste.
Numbers and Details
Between the years 1993-2000 the total area of New Zealand’s vineyards increased 2-fold reaching by the year 2000 120,000 hectares. In some cases wine making took over the sheep breeding grounds! The yield is quite high – being in average of 90 gallons of wine per hectare.
Grape harvest is usually from February till May. The primary type of wine grown in New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc (about 41% of all vineyards), which is followed by Pinot Noir (about 18%), Chardonnay (15%), Merlot (6%), Pinot Gris (5%), Riesling (3%), Cabernet Sauvignon (2%), and Gevyurtstraminer, Sira, and Semillon (1%).
There are more than 30 wine producers in New Zealand, the largest being Montana Wines, Corbans, Nobilo, Villa Maria, Vidal Wines, Esk Valley Estate, Te Mata, Stonyridge, Sacred Hill, Saint Clair, Goldwater, Matariki, Babich, Clearview, Claudy Bay, Matua Valley, Wither Hills, and others.
And this is how just over one hundred years of winemaking New Zealand became a new home for the great culture of wine!
« Hide it