New Zealand

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

New Zealand, southern Pacific islands 1,000 miles/1,600 km away from the nearest land mass, australia, has an agricultural economy that is far more dependent on dairy products than it is on wine, the country’s eighth-biggest export. Vines were first planted in 1819 but it took more than 150 years for New Zealanders to discover that their country’s cool, maritime climate was suitable for high-quality wine production. Although production is small by world standards (one-tenth of Australia’s relatively small wine output), vines are now grown on about 35,000 ha/86,450 acres (an increase of almost 60% between 2007 and 2013) in nine regions spanning 1,200 km/720 miles, almost the full length of the country’s North and South Islands.