New Zealand has long been famed for its stunning,unspoiled landscape. Equal to the international acclaim for its beauty is that for its fine wines. Climate, geography and human skill have combined to produce highly distinctive, premium quality wines, which are ‘the riches of a clean, green land.’
In the warmer and more humid northern regions of Northland, Auckland and Gisborne, Chardonnay might begin to be harvested in late February or early March while in Central Otago, the world’s most southerly Chardonnay grapes may first be picked in mid to late April–a difference of six to seven weeks.
New Zealand is a country of contrasts with dense, native forest, snow-capped mountains and spectacular coastline. With wine growing regions spanning the latitudes of 36 to 45 degrees and covering the length of 1000 miles (1,600 kilometres), grapes are grown in a vast range of climates and soil types, producing a diverse array of styles.
The northern hemisphere equivalent would run from Bordeaux (between the latitudes of 44 and 46 degrees) down to southern Spain.
New Zealand’s temperate, maritime climate has a strong influence on the country’s predominantly coastal vineyards. The vines are warmed by strong, clear sunlight during the day and cooled at night by sea breezes. The long, slow ripening period helps to retain the vibrant varietal flavours that make New Zealand wine so distinctive.
New Zealand’s small population, distant location and agricultural economy have earned the country a ‘clean, green’ image. Visitors often describe it as ‘an unspoiled paradise’. New Zealand’s wine makers are determined to keep it this way.
Innovative practices in the vineyard and winery which deliver quality in a sustainable and environmental manner, ensure that New Zealand meets a growing world demand for wines that have been produced in a ‘clean and green’ fashion.