ABOUT NEW ZEALAND WINES
New Zealand wine is produced in several mostly maritime, cool climate wine growing regions of New Zealand, an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. Like many other New World wines, it is usually produced and labelled as single varietal wines, or if blended the varietal components are listed on the label. New Zealand is famous for its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and more recently its dense, concentrated Pinot Noir from Marlborough, Martinborough and Central Otago.
Whilst wine has been made in New Zealand since the early 19th century, the modern wine industry in New Zealand began in the mid-20th century and has recently been undergoing rapid growth, averaging 17% per annum for the last 20 years. In 2017 New Zealand produced 285 million litres from 37,129 hectares (91,750 acres) of vineyard area, about three-quarters of which is dedicated to Sauvignon Blanc.
Nearly 90% of total production is exported, chiefly to the United States, Britain and Australia, reaching a record NZ$1.66 billion in export revenue in 2017. New Zealanders over the last ten years consume a fairly constant 20 litres of wine per capita, about a third of which is imported from other countries, mainly Australia
The wine regions in New Zealand stretch from latitudes 36°S in the north (Northland) (comparable in latitude to Jerez, Spain), to 45°S (Central Otago) in the south (comparable in latitude to Bordeaux, France). The climate in New Zealand is maritime, meaning that the sea moderates the weather producing cooler summers and milder winters than would be expected at similar latitudes in Europe and North America.
Maritime climates tend also to demonstrate higher variability with cold snaps possible at any time of the year and warm periods even in the depth of winter. The climate is typically wetter, but wine regions have developed in rain shadows and in the east, on the opposite coast from the prevailing moisture-laden wind. The wine regions of New Zealand tend to experience cool nights even in the hottest of summers. The effect of consistently cool nights is to produce fruit which is nearly always high in acidity.