New Zealand and Green
By 2012 100% of New Zealand’s wine will be produced under approved, independently audited, sustainability schemes. That’s what the country’s entire wine industry committed to in 2007. Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand promotes best practices across a broad area of sustainable resource management, including water usage, energy consumption, waste management and biodiversity. Currently 75% of winery production and 85% of vineyard area are participating in the SWNZ program.
New Zealand’s Gewurztraminer
There’s a guy, in the region of Gisborne on the North Island, Nick Nobilo, who is so passionate and so committed to growing the world’s best Gewurztraminer, that he’ll surprise you with his dedication. Gisborne varietals are known for being highly approachable, soft and lush. This Gewurz is opulent and its lychee, rose-petal notes will delight. Nick grows his Gewurz on gravelly soil in an area known more for its Chardonnay. Expect to have any and all preconceived ideas dashed.
Vinoptima Reserve Ormond, Gewurztraminer Gisborne, ’06
New Zealand Pinot Noir
There’s something happening in New Zealand these days and it’s more than just their Sauvignon Blanc. In a country whose wine industry made it on the map largely thanks to the Sauvignon Blanc grape, many are now predicting a shift towards Pinot Noir becoming the dominant varietal of this island wine-producing nation.
Marlborough is one of the regions where Pinot Noir has been planted. “Some of the Pinot Noir vines in Marlborough are only 5, 6, 7 years old. It’d be great to spotlight our Pinot Noir wines in another 10 years,” said John Ferris of Villa Maria Estate Cellars. “We have about 30 vineyards in the Southern Valleys. The vineyards hold water well. The wines will age well; they have a lot of structure.”
Wairarapa is another region growing Pinot Noir grapes. It’s in the southernmost part of the North Island. It’s a “small region with a big reputation,” and is already “especially acclaimed for its mouth-filling, richly flavored Pinot Noirs.” Paddy Borthwick vineyards planted some Pinot Noir vines in rocky soil, where the “rocks were bigger than me,” fifteen years ago, said Robin Borthwick.
Gladstone is another winery in the region growing the grape. Their label, 12,000 Miles is reference to how far it was to sail from Scotland to Wairarapa when they came and first settled the land. Christine Kernohan makes the wine and David, her husband, runs the fully sustainable and bio-dynamic winery.
Wild Thyme To Be Had In Central Otago
Central Otago is the region in the South Island that is perfumed with the fragrance of wild thyme. Winemakers from across New Zealand have been buying grapes from Central Otago for some time, though it has mostly been the Sauvignon Blanc grapes in past years. Now the winemakers who are savvy to consumer trends are buying up the Pinot Noir harvests from the area.
Waitiri Creek Wines is run by Central Otago born and bred Paula. She is currently excited about some new plantings in an area called the Terrace in the region. She liberally refers to her Pinot Noir’s “wonderful florality,” has nicknamed it “Dirty Sex,” and describes it by saying it exhibits, “magnificent beasts on the nose; you’re not sure if you should drink them or wear them and that’s only IF you can keep your hands off it.” She first planted her vines in 1993.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection, Pinot Noir, Marlborough, ’08
Paddy Borthwick, Pinot Noir, Wairarapa, ’08
Gladstone, 12,000 Miles, Pinot Noir, Wairarapa, ’08
Waitiri Creek, Pinot Noir, Central Otago, ’07
There are 643 wineries spread across 10 major winegrowing regions in New Zealand. One in every 200 bottles of wine produced in the world comes from New Zealand. 95% of N.Z. wines are under Stelvin or “screwcap” enclosures to ensure quality. N.Z. wine is known to be food-friendly wine.