New Zealand – Little wonder

Gerard Barnes, wine quality and product development manager, Raisin Social agrees: “New Zealand producers should resist the temptation to get caught up in the downward spiral of discounting and should continue to offer the consumer an interesting range of high quality wines offering a good price/quality ratio. New Zealand wines should also play to their strengths such as the regional points of difference and the interesting range of varietals they can produce from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot Noir.”

New Zealand’s export fame may have begun with, and indeed is thriving on, Sauvignon Blanc – the grape still accounts for over 70% of total exports (MAT May 2006). But there’s no doubt that the country has more to offer than this and many producers are now putting increasing emphasis on other varieties in their portfolios. In 2000, 22,000 cases of Pinot Noir left New Zealand’s shores and by 2005 this had rocketed to 450,000 cases, an upward trajectory that is expected to continue. Pinot Noir is, in fact, overtaking Chardonnay as the second most exported variety. Gregan is certain it will overtake at some point. “I mean we’re not riding around on horses any more are we?” he says. “This is progress, we’ve got to move with the times and that means we need to leverage other styles. Nothing stays the same for long around here.”

Life beyond Sauvignon

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