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Autumn in the Awatere Valley
Autumn day in the Awatere Valley, situated
in New Zealand's Marlborough wine region.

Early settlers to New Zealand first began growing the grape in the early 19th century, with most of the wine consumed by families and the local community.

It wasn't until the 20th century when the industry took off, with an explosion of vineyards sprouting up all over the country beginning in the 1970's.

Today, New Zealand has over 24 different grape varieties, mostly grown in accordance with cooler island growing conditions - like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are also grown, but in much smaller numbers, and mostly in the warmer north offering higher ripening temperatures.

For its size, sunny New Zealand packs a punch. The country boasts no less than 10 major wine producing areas with Hawke's Bay and Marlborough at the center of production. Although much smaller in size, Martinborough is probably more familiar to travelers for its wine tours and tastings situated only 1 1/2 hour's drive from the capital city of Wellington.

Other wine regions running north to south around the coast include the Waipara Valley region (a short drive from Christchurch and known for its world class Pinot Noir); the Waitaki Valley (New Zealand's newest wine region); and Central Otago which is also notable for being the most southerly wine region in the world.

Most of New Zealand’s nearly 300 wineries export their wines to the United States, Britain and Australia, along with a large number of smaller markets throughout the world. As the travel guide books will tell you, the best way to discover New Zealand wine is to visit the country’s spectacularly beautiful wine regions, up close and in person.


More information about New Zealand wine around the Web:


New Zealand Wine
- Premier browsing for the basics, including industry statistics, research and reports, wine regions, winery directory, education resources and wine event calendar.

New Zealand Wineries - Travelenvoy.com's expert take on the subject with brief, but interesting tidbits and factoids on the country's wine industry with links to all major wineries by region along with a library of tasting notes.

New Zealand Wine - Here's more information on regions and wineries along with related links to travel info, databases and online shopping resources.

 

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