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History of wineries in New Zealand

Discuss about the Regional Variation and Wine Style.

Central Ontago in New Zealand is famous for its scenic splendor. Located in the southernmost region it is known for producing wine that it true to its continental variety. Dry summers and cold winters characterize the region. The soil structure of this region is different from the soil structures in the rest of New Zealand that has heavy mineral content in the silt loams. According to Santini, Cavicchi & Casini, (2013), New Zealand is known for its much reputed Pinot Noir wines and the Central Otago is known for producing the finest variety of Pinot Noir. The central Ontago region is the seventh largest producer of wine in New Zealand. The Pinot Noir is the dominant variety of grape of grape grown in that region. The aim of this paper is to discuss and examine the impact of climatic conditions, soil and other factors present in Central Ontago on the wine styles. The paper also provides a brief history of wineries in New Zealand. There is also discussion on the different varieties of wine found in the region.

It seems that the history of wine in New Zealand, is short, however wines prepared from grape varieties have been available in the 1980s and in 1990s, sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs have made quite a mark in the international market. In New Zealand, the first grapevine plantation was established in the year 1819 (Knight, Klaere, Fedrizzi & Goddard, 2015). The first winemaker in the country was Scotsman James who was appointed by the British Resident in New Zealand. It was during the 1920s and 1930s that the wine industry witnessed an unprecedented boom during the Second World War. During this period, duties the import duties on wine were raised. During the 1960s and 1970s there was heavy investment made by the overseas companies in America and Australia. The 1970s witnessed the improvement in wine quality and production of wine. In New Zealand, the kiwi wine drinkers have a penchant for fully dry wines. In New Zealand, the wineries were established with the aim of serving the small domestic market that operated within the highly channelized economy. According to Tomasino, Harrison, Sedcole, & Frost, (2013), new wine companies started proliferating in New Zealand in the Central Otago region to Northland. In the present time, the wineries in New Zealand have reached to 670 as compared to fewer number of wineries 100 years ago.

Climatic conditions in Central Otago

The Central Ontago Region is the is the southernmost wine region and in the country it is known for the highest production of wine in the country. In the semi-continental climate frosts are an accepted but it is ultimately the site selection that play the key role in influencing the wine styles. According to Hannah et al., (2013), this region is characterized by high sunshine hours and short and humid summers that lead to an idyllic and brutal landscape essential for the vines. In addition, the region boasts of dry autumn and low humidity that are considered important assets for the production of pure and complex variety of wines. The soil in Central Otago consists of moderately old and windblown loess. There are layers of loess that are situated in the depths and interspersed with sandy soils and gravels that is an outcome of water erosion (History of wine production in Central Otago - Altitude Tours, 2018). The amount of low rainfall minimizes the impact of leaching and maintains the minerality present in the soil. There are low level of organic matter. This results in the soil being low in vigour and high in mineral richness. This allows the irrigation of the to regulate vine stress and optimize on the quality of fruit. These characteristic features of the region has positioned Central Otago in the world map as a region specializing in winegrowing terroir and contributes in the production of high quality boutique wines.

In Central Otago, New Zealand, all of the main wine-growing regions are located in close proximity. The region features distinctive mountainous terrain that provides an interesting climate, altitude and aspect. Pinot Noir variety have flourished in the Central Otago region as it comprises a series of stunning expressions. The region has been historically known for ‘preeminently suitable for winemaking’ and the region received its first gold medal in Sydney in 1881 for Burgundy. There was the prevalence of stonefruit till the revival in 1950s (Anderson, Jones, Tait, Hall & Trought, 2012). This was followed by the commitment in the 1970s ushered in by the winegrowing pioneers. These pioneers were Chard Farm, Black Ridge, Rippon and Gibbston Valley.

Central Otago has different sub-regions that specialize in different styles of wine. The Wanaka region has a spectacular landscape and is known for some of the best Pinot Noir especially the white wines. It is situated between the mountain ranges which is in the north of Queenstown and 80 km. It is considered as one of the most spectacular wineyards in the Central Otago region. Wanaka is cooler in temperature and wetter compared to Queenstown and the Cromwell regions. The Lake Wanaka is known for reflecting the radiation and mitigating frost that leads to vivid wine production. The Cromwell sub-region is situated on the western side of Lake Dunstan that is spanning the north for 25 km from the township of Cromwell (Mozell & Thach, 2014). Most of the plantings are located in the lower terraces and the valley floor runs adjacent to the Pisa mountain range that is known for producing potent variety of wines. In the Bannockburn region  the wines have a distinctive and complex taste. It is located to the south bank of the Kawarau River in the southern terminus. The vineyards is located in the extremely warm and dry areas of the region. The harvest of these grapes can take upto a month. Then there is the Gibbston sub-region which is epitomized with extremely harsh climatic conditions. This has steered to proper site selection. The wines are characterized by great finesse and intensity. It is nestled in the eastern side of Queenstown along the Kawarau Gorge. Gibbston has entrenched itself in the wine making business since 1987. This sub-region has a cooler climate and it is brimming with north-facing hillside vines. All these climatic conditions lead to the production of intense varieties of wines. Then there is the Alexanda region which is known for Feraud’s stone winery that is situated in the schist landscape. It is the most southerly sub-region and has dry climatic conditions that can become quite extreme during the winter and summer season. All these climatic conditions contribute to aromatic, vividly varietal and precisely structured wines.

Unique soil structure of Central Otago

The varieties of wine found in the central Otago region are Pinot Noir, Aromatics, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Pinot Noir is the flagship variety and its appeal increases with the increase in the region and the vines. It is prepared from the fragrant and lush fruit that is characterized by its authentic intensity, silky texture and unique taut structure (Central Otago Wine Region | Wineries | Wines of NZ., 2018). There is variation in Pinot Noir based on the different sub-regions. The aromatics variety may range from the austerely dry to extremely sweet. A sparkling fruit that has a clean and impeccable structure characterizes it. Citrus and mineral characters characterize the chardonnay variety of wine. It represents a fine-bodied and taut structure that can be reserved during the young stage but will become elegant and have great complexity on maturation. The Sauvignon Blanc is characterized by a linear structure and has refreshing acidity and accentuated with stony finishes (New Zealand Wine: Small Beginnings to the Global Stage, 2018). It is basically mineral and gunflint that is overlain with passion fruit and pineapple. There are several other varieties of wine in the region those are perfumated and rosy, prepared through the saignee method and make delicious aperitifs that are firm and complex and have generated critical recognition (Sturman et al., 2017). Therefore, it can be found that although New Zealand contributes to the production of less than 1 per cent of the wine in the world, it offers a spectacular range of wine that is known for its premium quality and multiple varieties. The maritime climate of the region has led to the distinctive nature of wine of the region.

Conclusions

Based on the above discussion it can be concluded that the Central Otago region of New Zealand is favorable for the growth of vineyards and production of wine. The climatic factors and type of soil in the region influences the production of premium and fine variety of wines. It is also discussed that although Central Otago contributes to less than 1 per cent of wine production yet it manages to remain a favorite among the wine connoisseurs. Some of the varieties of wine found in this region are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and many other wine types are grown in the vineyards of Central Otago.

References

Anderson, J. D., Jones, G. V., Tait, A., Hall, A., & Trought, M. C. (2012). Analysis of viticulture region climate structure and suitability in New Zealand. Journal International des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin, 46(3), 149-165.

Central Otago Wine Region | Wineries | Wines of NZ. (2018). Wines of NZ. Retrieved 12 April 2018, from https://www.winesofnz.com/new-zealand-wine-regions/central-otago-wine-region/

Hannah, L., Roehrdanz, P. R., Ikegami, M., Shepard, A. V., Shaw, M. R., Tabor, G., ... & Hijmans, R. J. (2013). Climate change, wine, and conservation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(17), 6907-6912.

History of wine production in Central Otago - Altitude Tours. Retrieved 2018, from https://www.altitudetours.co.nz/region-central-otago/history-wine-production-central-otago/

Knight, S., Klaere, S., Fedrizzi, B., & Goddard, M. R. (2015). Regional microbial signatures positively correlate with differential wine phenotypes: evidence for a microbial aspect to terroir. Scientific reports, 5, 14233.

Mozell, M. R., & Thach, L. (2014). The impact of climate change on the global wine industry: Challenges & solutions. Wine Economics and Policy, 3(2), 81-89.

New Zealand Wine: Small Beginnings to the Global Stage. (2018). Nzwine.com. Retrieved 12 April 2018, from https://www.nzwine.com/en/news-media/new-zealand-wine-small-beginnings-to-the-global-stage/

Santini, C., Cavicchi, A., & Casini, L. (2013). Sustainability in the wine industry: key questions and research trends a. Agricultural and Food Economics, 1(1), 9.

Sturman, A., Zawar-Reza, P., Soltanzadeh, I., Katurji, M., Bonnardot, V., Parker, A., ... & Schulmann, T. (2017). The application of high-resolution atmospheric modelling to weather and climate variability in vineyard regions.

Tomasino, E., Harrison, R., Sedcole, R., & Frost, A. (2013). Regional differentiation of New Zealand Pinot noir wine by wine professionals using canonical variate analysis. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, ajev-2013.

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