Wine of the World

Wine Basics By Country - New Zealand Print

Overview

New Zealand extends 1,600km (1000 miles) from sub-tropical Northland (36° S) to the world’s most southerly grape growing region Central Otago (47° S). Vineyards benefit from the moderating effect of the maritime climate (no vineyard is more than 120km, or 80 miles, from the ocean) with long sunshine hours and nights cooled by sea breezes. New Zealand wine is distinctive for its purity, vibrancy and intensity. The long ripening period - a result of cool temperatures - allows flavor development whilst retaining fresh acidity, a balance for which New Zealand wines are renowned.

There are a number of distinct major winegrowing regions spread throughout New Zealand, with the majority on the East coast of the Islands in the rain shadow of the mountains. Within these diverse regions, sub-regional characteristics are beginning to show through and wines are now being distinguished as being not just from a wine region, but from a sub-region and a place

Additional Information

Although James Busby, and early pioneer of Australian wine making worked in New Zealand in the mid 1830’s, it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that non-fortified wine was widely made here. The world started to notice Sauvignon Blanc in the 1980’s and the rest is history, with Marlborough being the center of activity.