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New Zealand Wines

 

New Zealand wine is largely produced in ten major wine growing regions spanning latitudes 36 to 45 South and extending 1,600 km (1,000 miles). They are, from north to south Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury and Central Otago.

In the 1970s, Montana in Marlborough started producing wines which were labelled by year of production (vintage) and grape variety (in the style of wine producers in Australia). The first production of a Sauvignon Blanc of great note appears to have occurred in 1977. Also produced in that year were superior quality wines of Muller Thurgau, Riesling and Pinotage.

The excitement created from these successes and from the early results of Cabernet Sauvignon from Auckland and Hawkes Bay launched the industry with ever increasing investment, leading to more hectares planted, rising land prices and greater local interest and pride. Such was the boom that over-planting occurred, particularly in the "wrong" varietals that fell out of fashion in the early 1980s. In 1984 the then Labour Government paid growers to pull up vines to address a glut that was damaging the industry. Ironically many growers used the Government grant not to restrict planting, but to swap from less economic varieties (such as Müller Thurgau and other hybrids) to more fashionable varieties (Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc), using the old root stock. The glut was only temporary in any case, as boom times returned swiftly

 

 

 

 

 

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