Wild and Wonderful New Zealand

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When I lived in Western Pennsylvania several years ago, I remembered the “Wild and Wonderful West Virginia” signs that would greet me at the Pa/W.Va state line. I had not really thought about those signs for quite a while… That is until I recently visited New Zealand. That slogan, then, took on a whole new meaning to me. Wild and Wonderful New Zealand. Yes, that sums up my impression of this geological wonder, a strikingly beautiful South Pacific nation of 4.5 million people and 40 million sheep!

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Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, near Rotorua, North Island

New Zealand has 10 wine regions, with 6 on the North Island and 4 on the South Island. They range from the sub-tropical Northland, at 35° S, a comparable latitude to Paso Robles, Ca. in the Northern Hemisphere, to the continental climate of Central Otago, the world’s most southerly wine region at approximately 46° S, a comparable latitude to the Walla Walla, Wa. and Northern Rhône (France) wine regions in the Northern Hemisphere.

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In the Cook Strait, approaching the South Island, from the Interislander Ferry
During my three week trip, I travelled over 2400 miles and visited 43 wineries – 800 miles and 10 wineries on the North Island and over 1600 miles and 33 wineries on the South Island.  I tasted wines from at least 19 other grapes, either as single varietals or within blends. New Zealand is primarily known for Sauvignon Blanc and, more recently, Pinot Noir.
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Sunset in a Marlborough Vineyard in Renwick, at the lovely guest quarters where I stayed.
In my forthcoming posts, I will be highlighting each wine region I visited and sharing special stories that happened along the “long and winding road” through the New Zealand World of Wine. Stay tuned.
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Veraison, when red wine grapes begin to get their color…
Until next time…
Cheers!
* Map courtesy of Nicks Nose Knows
Photos ©2014 by Christine Humphrey

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