New Zealand consists of
relatively small islands resulting in growing conditions that are
marine-influenced. Most of the vineyards lie in coastal areas, warmed
during the day by clear sunlight and cooled at night by sea breezes. It
lies in latitudes that are roughly equivalent to those of the great wine
growing regions of Europe, ranging from those like some of the warmer
areas of Spain in the northern end of the country to that similar to
Germany in the south.
Although the New Zealand wine industry dates back to 1819 it has evolved
dramatically during the past thirty to 40 years. There are now about 700
wineries, each with a burning passion to produce premium quality,
distinctive wines. The whites are noted for their intensity of fruit and
crisp acidity. The cooler climate reds of the North Island, especially the
Bordeaux-styled blends and the pinot noirs display a silky soft finesse,
in contrast to other New World blockbuster reds. It is now considered by
many to be the world's finest producer of sauvignon blanc and it is
achieving increasing international success with pinot noir.
Even though export figures are showing impressive growth, the New Zealand
wine industry remains a small player in world terms, a position that it is
happy to keep. Quality is seen as being more important than quantity in
its attempt to carve out its own niche in the world market.
Click on the links for information about the predominant grape varieties,
wine producing regions, a list of wineries arranged by region with their
URL's, a listing of links to New Zealand on-line wine shops, New Zealand
companies providing wine tours and producers of cider, mead and fruit
wines. There is also a brief selection of New Zealand wines statistics and
an extensive selection of annotated links to other New Zealand wine
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