Celebrating 200 Years of New Zealand Wine

September 25, 2019, marks 200 years since the first planting of grapevines in New Zealand. From the humble beginnings of a vine planted in Northland, the New Zealand wine industry has grown to become a $1.83 billion export earner, with an international reputation for premium, diverse and sustainable wines.

Reverend Samuel Marsden, Chaplain to New South Wales (1765-1838), records September 25, 1819, as
the day he planted a vine in the rich grounds of the Stone Store, Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. These
pioneering vines were the very first to be planted into New Zealand soils, with New Zealand being one
of very few countries in the world where the exact date of the planting of the first vines is known,
making our story unique on the world stage.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, a significant number of European immigrants came to New
Zealand and set up vineyards in different regions. They each contributed to the early establishment of
the diverse wine regions of New Zealand. The New Zealand wine industry today consists of over 700
wineries and more than 600 grape growers, with the growing success of this industry depending
strongly on the commitment and passion of the people behind it.

Since the 1990s, there has been an evolution in the grape varieties that we see planted throughout our
regions. Sauvignon Blanc is now the most widely planted variety, accounting for 76% of total production,
followed by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

As we raise a toast to the past, we also look ahead to the future. The New Zealand wine industry is
dedicated to ensuring that we celebrate another 200 years, through a commitment to sustainability and
innovation that will protect the places that make our famous wines. Over 98% of New Zealand’s
vineyard producing area is now Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) certified – and this is
unmatched by any voluntary scheme around the world.

New Zealand Winegrowers will be marking the 200 year anniversary with an industry event in
Northland, including a ceremonial re-planting at the historic Stone Store, followed by a regional wine
tasting and dinner on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

In his diary, Marsden prophesied, “New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine, as far as I
can judge at present of the nature of the soil and climate. Should the vine succeed, it will prove of vast
importance in this part of the globe.” His prediction has been brilliantly fulfilled.

For further information contact:
Amber Silvester
Communications Manager, New Zealand Winegrowers
021 794 381

Editors notes:

  • The first recorded wine was from James Busby in 1830s. Busby, the Crown’s Resident in New
    Zealand lived in what is now called the Treaty House at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. James
    Busby was the architect of the Treaty of Waitangi and is regarded as the first winemaker in New
    Zealand.
  • In 1840, naval officer and explorer Jules Dumont D’Urville visited and was disappointed to find
    Busby not in residence, but tasted a wine made by Busby. Onboard his ship, Astrolabe, Dumont
    D’Urville wrote the first New Zealand wine review in his journal, “with great pleasure I agreed to
    taste the product of the vineyard that I had just seen. I was given a light white wine, very
    sparkling, and delicious to taste, which I enjoyed very much”.

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A Colab view of Europe – Review June 2019

Simon Bell, the Representative for Colab Wine Merchants, presented a taste of Europe. There was a good turnout of 33 members and 3 guests. Everyone enjoyed the evening. It was a different style of meeting with lots of member interaction. Simon gave out larger glasses to demonstrate the difference using a large glass versus a small glass. It was an interesting evening with the tasting aimed for the layperson. There were 14 orders with a total of 96 bottles. Simon was pleased with the meeting and is keen to do another meeting. To revisit the wines included:q

Alpha Domus Collection Sauvignon Blanc (NZ)
Vivanco White Rioja (Spain)
Guerrieri Rizzardi Pinot Grigio IGP Veneto (Italy)
Domaine Dupre Bourgogne Chardonnay (France)
Vivanco Rioja Crianza (Spain)
Vivanco Rioja Reserva (Spain)
Chateau Mauciol Cotes du Rhone Villages Red (France)

One of the prospects he discussed, and would be happy to run, would be a non-threatening “Wine Options” evening. Your committee will consider this.

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European wines presented by Simon Bell, Colab Wine Merchants Limited

Members may recognise Simon’s name. He presented to the club back in April 2018 but has recently moved to a new company in wine and spirit wholesaling, Colab Wine Merchants Limited.

This company is interesting in that its 2 principal shareholders are 2 well-known wineries:

But of equal importance to us, Colab also handles 3 South Australian brands:

As you can see, all 3 of these areas are in the state of South Australia which is one of the iconic new world wine regions and so we are really looking forward to tasting some great wines from this area.

More details next month.

News just in

CoLab is now presenting a range of European wines from their portfolio. The wines to be presented include:

  • Alpha Domus Collection Sauvignon Blanc, NZ
  • Vivanco White Rioja, Spain
  • Guerrieri Rizzardi Pinot Grigio IGP Veneto, Italy
  • Domaine Dupre Bourgogne Chardonnay, France
  • Vivanco Rioja Crianza, Spain
  • Vivanco Rioja Reserva, Spain
  • Chateau Mauciol Cotes du Rhone Villages Red, France

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Villa Maria – March 2019

Yet another excellent tasting with Marc Udy from Villa Maria, ably assisted by Kirsty Warbrick,  presenting a range of great wines including some from their Platinum Range. Marc is one of the winemakers from Marlborough.  He was a good speaker and the consensus is that the winery has been really easy to deal with.

To reiterate the tasting included the Cellar Selection Rose 2018; Reserve Wairua Sauvignon 2018;  Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Gris 2018; Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016; Platinum Selection Pinot Noir 2018; Cellar Selection Grenache 2017, rounded off with the Cellar Selection Late Harvest Riesling 2015.  An enjoyable night.

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Askerne Wines – February 2019

Another great evening with nice wines and an informative presenter. John Loughlin was a pleasure to deal with and kept the meeting running to time. A good level of orders resulted. But that all our tastings were as easy to organize as this one was. John says he would be more than happy to come back and has some interesting wines that we haven’t yet tried. We will keep this in mind.

The wines tasted included; Askerne Sauv Blanc / Sauv Gris / Semillon 2018 as the quaffer; followed by; Askerne Reserve Chardonnay 2016; Askerne Viognier 2018; Askerne Gewürztraminer 2016; Askerne Syrah 2015; Askerne Merlot Cab Franc Cab Sauv Malbec 2015; Askerne 2016 Cabernet Franc; rounded off with the Askerne Dessert Cabernet 2018.

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Negociants present Yalumba Wines – Cenna Lloyd – October 2018

This was a very enjoyable tasting. Cenna was a very knowledgeable presenter with a great relaxed style. She admitted to a few nerves to start with but was soon interacting nicely with the members. The wines presented were great wines at a good value for money. The tasting was a good night.

Whilst we haven’t used Negociants before, the fact that we are now licensed means we can deal with this type of operation in the future. We will keep it in mind to pencil Negociants in for another tasting soon, as they have a really good provider base.

To reiterate, the wines tasted were the:

  • 2017/2018 Sangiovese Rosé
  • 2017 Organic Chardonnay
  • 2014 Eden Valley Roussanne
  • 2017 Eden Valley Viognier
  • 2017 Old Bush Vine Grenache
  • 2015 Paradox Shiraz
  • 2014 The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz

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Clearview Estate – August 2018

Established in 1989, Clearview Estate Winery, Hawke’s Bay and its iconic ‘red shed’ restaurant enjoys an established, leafy coastal vineyard setting near the historic landscape of Cape Kidnappers.

Sit, under the blue umbrellas or amongst the vines, while you explore the comprehensive seasonal menu from the winery restaurant featuring fresh and creative dishes making innovative use of Hawke’s Bay produce.

Besides grapes, the estate also grows avocados, olives and citrus trees along with a culinary herb garden to supply the restaurant’s kitchen. Enjoy our estate grown, award-winning wines including the iconic Reserve Chardonnay or our Cabernet-Merlot blends – Old Olive Block & Enigma.

More fabulous Hawkes Bay wines to enjoy. You would be silly to miss this one. More detail next month.

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Unison Vineyard – Terry Horn – June 2018

Yet another great tasting from a Hawkes Bay winemaker. The night was cold and wet but we were well pleased with the attendance.

Terry from Unison presented a selection of their wines which the committee felt were brilliant. Terry gave a very informative talk with a great pitch.

The wines presented were well received with good orders arising from the night. Terry enjoyed the evening as did the members attending.

The wines included:

  • 2016 Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2016 Reserve Chardonnay
  • 2017 Rose
  • 2015 Rocky Red
  • 2012 Reserve Merlot
  • 2013 Classic Red
  • 2013 Syrah

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Chilled red wines and warmer white wines have more flavour

Wine is a complicated beast, but best rules to follow are: chill your reds lightly and let your whites warm a little.
Wine is a complicated beast, but best rules to follow are: chill your reds lightly and let your whites warm a little.

Thomas Heaton | January 25 2018

Kiwis are drinking their red wines too warm and our whites too cold, according to expert sommeliers.

Refrigeration leaves white too cold, and chances are red is too warm in the current summer weather.

Wellington wine bar Noblerot served its wines at a range of temperatures according to the varietal; the prime range for red wine was between 18 and 22 degrees.

Noblerot Chef Joshua Dodd with co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny

Co-owner and sommelier Maciej Zimny said lighter, fruitier reds, such as pinot noir, lent themselves to being chilled to the bottom of that range.

During warmer summer weather, Zimny recommended chilling red wine from up to 10 minutes before serving, which would reduce the temperature by between three and five degrees.

“When you taste the wine, at a lower temperature it seems complete,” he said.

“Even when it’s slightly colder that it should be it will provide much more pleasure.”

That’s because of the alcoholic smell was exaggerated when it was warm, which was unappetising, according sommelier at Auckland’s French Cafe, Stephanie Guth.

She said. however, the sight of a chilled red wine was odd for customers.

“You want to do it justice but it’s such a weird thing for people to see, red wine in an ice bucket, even though you know it might benefit from it,” Guth said.

Twenty minutes in an ice-bucket before opening and drinking might help to boost the flavour in a pinot noir.

“The more complex the wine you have, the warmer it should be served,” Zimny said, referring to rich red wines such as merlot or Bordeaux varietals.

Conversely white wine should be served chilled, however complex oaky chardonnays should be served slightly warmer than other whites.

So chardonnay’s flavours lent better to slightly warmer temperatures than sauvignon blanc, about 14 degrees as opposed to 10 degrees, because it was important to make sure oak flavours were prominent.

Pinot noir and chardonnay hailed from the Burgundy region of France, and both were classically stored in the same cellar under the same conditions. He said wines have either been served too warm or too cold since the invention of refrigerators.

Cellar temperature was perceived as something quite different to what was initially intended, room temperature, Guth said.

Leaving white wine to warm up slightly released flavours hidden by colder temperatures.

“It doesn’t harm the wine but you tend to get a little more out of the aromas.”

The only reason one should drink a bottle straight out of the fridge was “if you don’t want to taste your wine”, she said.

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Wine for Xmas Dinner

AWARDS

TROPHY: “Champion Sparkling Wine”, Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2017, NZ
GOLD: Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2017, NZ

WINE ANALYSIS

Variety: 50% Pinot Noir / 50% Chardonnay
Vineyard: Seifried Cornfield and Brightwater Vineyards
Sugar at Harvest: 19.4°Brix
Date of Harvest: Early March 2011
Disgorgement Date: September 2016
T.A of Wine: 5.8g/L
Residual Sugar: 1g/L (Brut)
Alc.: 12.5% vol.
Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes

WINEMAKERS NOTE

In 1971 my father Hermann Seifried arrived in New Zealand with a dream of making great wines. He and my mother Agnes pioneered modern winemaking in the Nelson region, planting the first vines and in 1976 producing their first wines. Now, 40 years later we celebrate their vision and the arrival of the next generation, our children, who are growing up in the vineyard and winery. We hope that they too will share the passion for crafting fine wines.

Our Aotea Méthode Traditionnelle is a very special wine. Two parcels of fruit were hand picked at ideal ripeness for this classical Méthode Traditionnelle Cuvée. The Pinot Noir is from our Brightwater Vineyard while the Chardonnay comes from our Cornfield Vineyard. The blend is 50/50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The grapes were hand harvested during the cool early hours of the day and brought to the winery quickly for processing. The free-run juice from the press was cold settled overnight before being racked, warmed and inoculated. A smooth ferment progressed to dryness, followed by malolactic fermentation. The young wine was then prepared for bottle fermentation and aged on lees for an extended period. In 2016 the wine was finished and released to celebrate our 40th vintage at Seifried’s.
Chris Seifried.

THE VINEYARD

The Cornfield Vineyard is situated on a wide river flat. The soil is gravelly sandy loam, which marks the sites of Maori kumara beds (sweet potato) prior to European settlement in the early 1800’s. The Maori transferred and spread fine gravel and sand over the land to provide suitable soils for their kumara pla

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NZ wine exports hit record high driven by strong US sales

The beer and wine aisle of a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store is pictured ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles. New Zealand sauvignon blanc has found a ready market in the US.
The beer and wine aisle of a 365 by Whole Foods Market grocery store is pictured ahead of its opening day in Los Angeles. New Zealand sauvignon blanc has found a ready market in the US.

New Zealand’s wine export values continue to rise thanks to strong United States demand, reaching $1.66 billion for the year, up 6 per cent on the year before.

While the percentage increase is lower than the average yearly growth of 17 per cent for the last 20 years, the industry was still on track to reach $2b worth of exports by 2020, chairman of New Zealand Winegrowers Steve Green said.

The latest NZ Winegrowers annual report shows to the end of June this year, the US market is worth $517 million, up 12 per cent. New Zealand wine became the third most valuable wine import into the US, behind only France and Italy.

NZ wine, a 2017 snapshot.
NZ wine, a 2017 snapshot.

Green forecast next year’s export volumes would be “more muted” because of the smaller harvest of 396,000 tonnes, down 9 per cent on 2016, but wineries were confident quality would remain high.

While the US provided the best returns, more litres of wine (74 million) were exported to the United Kingdom for a much smaller return of $389m. Traditionally more bulk wine has been sent into the UK market. Behind the US and the UK came Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and China.

Former US ambassador to New Zealand Mark Gilbert, along with many of his countrymen, has a nose for a good wine. He attended a tasting of New Zealand and French pinot noir last year.
Former US ambassador to New Zealand Mark Gilbert, along with many of his countrymen, has a nose for a good wine. He attended a tasting of New Zealand and French pinot noir last year.

The most exported variety was sauvignon blanc, followed by pinot noir and chardonnay.

The recently passed Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act would offer improved protection of New Zealand’s regional identities. The industry had also launched the sustainable winegrowing New Zealand continuous improvement extension programme to enhance the reputation of wines.

Of a total growing area of 37,129 hectares, sauvignon dominates at 22,085 ha, an increase of 685 ha from the year before. The second most popular variety was pinot noir, with 5653 ha, followed by chardonnay at 3203 ha and pinot gris (2469 ha).

Marlborough is overwhelmingly the largest region with 25,135 ha planted in vines, followed by Hawke’s Bay (4694 ha), Central Otago (1896 ha) and Canterbury/Waipara (1425 ha).

The number of wineries was 677; they reached a peak of 703 in 2012.

New Zealanders drank 40 million litres of imported wine during the past year, most of it Australian (29m litres), with the next two most popular French and Chilean.

The November Kaikoura earthquake damaged an estimated 20 per cent of Marlborough’s tank capacity, but by harvest time all of the lost capacity had been restored or replaced.

Green said the industry consulted with members on possible changes to export tasting requirements, with responses suggesting a rethink of export requirements was needed.

“We continue to believe more needs to be done in our export legislation to ensure that the same standards apply to every bottle of New Zealand wine, no matter where it is bottled,” Green said.

NZ Winegrowers were concerned at the Ministry for Primary Industries’ plan to take part of New Zealand Winegrowers’ wine export certification service contract in-house.

“We fought hard to retain the status quo, which has served our members well, and are disappointed with the level of industry consultation in MPI’s decision making process. If the service changes, we will be seeking guarantees from the government that the current speedy issuance of export eligibility statements will be protected, at no additional cost to members,” Green said.

In June the New Zealand Grape Growers Council and the Wine Institute of New Zealand finished as entities, replaced by a unified New Zealand Winegrowers.

New Zealand is now the only major wine producing nation with a single industry body, representing and advocating for the interests of its entire grape and wine industry.

The industry and the Government are working through a Primary Growth Partnership on research into lighter wine production and marketing. Last year retail sales reached $33.5m. The programme runs through to 2021, by which time $16.97m would have been spent on the partnership.

Organic wine production continues to flourish with more than 60 New Zealand wineries now making fully certified organic wines, and more still in the organic conversion process.

Wine is New Zealand’s fifth largest goods export.

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The A – Z of wine

Glengarry’s Sunday ramblings of all things vinous, grain and glorious. Issue 9, The A – Z of wine.

Goodbye Winter. Can’t say we’re sorry to see the back of you, what with the wind and the rain and the flu; when all’s said and done, there’s only so much a warming glass of red wine will fix.

However, we turn our gaze and our palates to the more benign months with a glowing shimmer of anticipation. It’s reboot and refresh time, and what better way to kick things off than with a quick A-Z of things vinous for your general edification. From A for acidity to Z for Zinfandel, there’s bound to be a little bit of something in there to intrigue and interest many of you.

What else? We feature Zephyr wines, the appropriately-named vehicle for the impressive winemaking skills of Ben Glover. Bach Brewing, only three years old but already so weighted down with medals. An exciting new offering from Gisborne’s Matawhero winery, the Irwin Chardonnay. Belvedere vodka – Polish know-how 600 years in the making. The under-the-radar genius of Champagne Moutard.

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