New Zealand is the southernmost wine-producing country in the world located in the South Pacific Ocean, south-east from Australia.
The Island of New Zealand is one of the relatively new wine-growing areas in the world with first planted vines in Northland region from the James Busby in 1819, who is considered the father of the Australian viticulture as well. Later in 1851 in Hawkes Bay was established the first winery by French Roman Catholic missionaries, and from there until the moment the country has experienced very vivid wine development and has become major wine-producing and exporting nation.
New Zealand is divided into two islands, resulting in a climate which is quite different between the warmer North Island and the colder but sunnier South Island. The maritime climate dominates most of the country with heavy rainfall in summer and autumn and fertile volcanic soils.
Wine laws in New Zealand are pretty simple and liberal, if the grape variety is stated on the label at least 75% of the variety must be included. Winemakers are allowed to enrich, deacidification and leavening, there are no yield limitations and artificial watering is allowed without restrictions.
There are 11 Geographical Indications GI or wine-growing regions each with its specifications and the most prominent among them are Marlborough, Waipara, Martinborough, Hawke's Bay, Central Otago, Nelson and Gisborne. New Zealand is the land of the Sauvignon Blanc, especially from the Marlborough region, which has found second home here and offers one of the most distinctive expressions in the world.
Of course, the other white international grape varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Viognier are thriving as well. The most planted red wine grape is the Pinot Noir, which reaches great results and it is well-known all over the world, particularly the one from the Central Otago region. Other red grapes which are used are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah which produces very special wines, Tempranillo and many more.
Overall, New Zealand is a very exciting wine country offering great value for money wine with beautiful characteristics and distinctive terroir.