Wild and Wonderful New Zealand

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!


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.

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.
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.
Veraison, when red wine grapes begin to get their color…
Until next time…
* Map courtesy of Nicks Nose Knows
Photos ©2014 by Christine Humphrey

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