New Zealand is a relative newcomer to the wine world but its rise in popularity has been dramatic, especially within the UK. Although blends do exist in New Zealand the main focus is on single varietals and expressing the characteristics of that individual grape variety. The Sauvignon Blanc grape variety, which is particularly suited to the Marlborough region, was the initial success story but Pinot Noir and other grape varieties are following suit, some with more success than others. However, Sauvignon Blanc is still the key varietal and more of this imported to the UK than any other country in the world.
There are considered to be 10 main wine growing regions within New Zealand, some with their own sub-regions - Marlborough, Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Gisbourne, Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, Central Otago.
The climate of New Zealand is classic Maritime with obvious exposure to the surrounding seas. The effect of this is cooler nights which ensures the fruit grown is generally high in acidity which produces wines with a natural freshness. The wine growing regions are often in rain shadow areas and on the East side of the country away from the impaling rain and winds which hit the west coast.