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Life experiences and interests from abroad

At The Sweet Spot – New Zealand Wine Travel March 30, 2008

Filed under: Travel,Wine — emccan2 @ 4:54 pm

To quote an article in today’s Economist, “At the Sweet Spot”, I was able to witness first hand the wine industry explosion happening throughout New Zealand.  The article talks about how the New Zealand wine industry is experiencing a boom: it just exceeded the wool exports in value and is the country’s 12th most valuable export.


Over the past two weeks, I have been traveling across New Zealand along with Rich, another devoted wine lover, to discover the small production wine growers’ outstanding Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs. After all the tasting, I have boiled down my top 5 Sauv. Blancs and Pinot Noirs below.  This list is based on my personal preferences, not from any ratings or awards.  Fortunately, for The Taste in Queenstown, I was able to sample multiple wines at one location thanks again to the wonderful Enomatic Wine machine. 

Top 5 Pinot Noirs:

  1. Amisfield
  2. Herzog
  3. St. Clair 
  4. Rockburn 
  5. Waitiri Creek

Top 5 Sauvignon Blanc

  1. Vavasour 
  2. Wither Hills 
  3. Alan Scott Wines
  4. Amisfield – Lake Hayes
  5. Seresin

Other notable mentions go to Amisfeld Riesling and Rose, Church Road Chardonnay, and Moana Park Ice Wine. 

While the New Zealand wine market is booming, the massive continent 1,200 miles northwest of NZ (Australia) is suffering from the worst droughts in history and are seeing acres of dried up vines.  The areas hurt the most are in North-west Victoria, and of the 7,000 wine growers in Australia, it is anticipated that around 1,000 will be forced to leave the industry because of the draught.  When I was visiting the wine regions in the Barossa and Hunter Valley, the drought was noticeable, but the impact hadn’t quite set in.  With the drought I wonder if New Zealand will become the next Australia in terms of growth and exports.  As much as I love my Shiraz and Cabernet, I wouldn’t mind seeing this trend surface and gain access to some of the smaller New Zealand wines that aren’t currently exporting their wine outside the country.   


2 Responses to “At The Sweet Spot – New Zealand Wine Travel”

  1. Catherine Says:

    Dear Elizabeth,

    Greetings from Rockburn Wines!

    I just wanted to say thank you for rating Rockburn Pinot Noir in your Top 5! With this grape representing over half of our production, we are very passionate about it and it’s great to see that others appreciate our hard work!!

    If you or anyone you know are back in Central Otago in the future, please do come by to see us at our cellar door in Cromwell. We would love to show you around the winery, do some barrel samples (if it’s the right time of year) and maybe even a vertical tasting.

    Kind Regards,
    Catherine Badrak
    Rockburn Wines Ltd.

  2. emccan2 Says:


    I am glad you stumbled upon my blog. I will certainly be back to visit your cellar door next time I’m in NZ and will recommend your vineyard to any friends visiting the Central Otogo region. I’ll also keep my eye out for Rockburn on the shelves here in Ireland and the US.

    Best Regards,

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