Top 10 cool climate wine regions

10. Marlborough, New Zealand


Plantings: 23,200ha

Main grapes: 77% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Pinot Noir, 5% Chardonnay

Marlborough’s developing sub-regions provide ample evidence that a single GST for an entire cool climate region is a broad measure.

The Southern Valleys are a series of valleys perpendicular to the (original) Wairau valley at its southern, cooler side, extending into the marginal northern slopes of the Wither Hills.

“Waihopai is the biggest of the southern valleys, with the most potential”, said Sam Weaver of Churton Wines, which sits at 200m above sea level. “But vineyards are frost prone, and water availability is an issue.”

Cooler still is the Awatere valley, over the Wither Hills to the south. Jason Flowerday of Te Whare Ra (based in the Wairau valley) works with a grower in Awatere because “it’s cooler and drier” than Wairau.

“Sauvignon Blanc ripens more slowly with elderflower, currant, more citrus and ripe acidity”, he said.

Although even the Awatere has variances. Jeff Fyfe, general manager, winery operations, at Yealands Family Wines said: “We are at the cooler end of Awatere [right on the coast]. It’s more herbal. And it’s windy. We have poorer flowering which reduces crops.”

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