NZ celebrates 200 years of wine

Wine connoisseurs may be surprised to learn that New Zealand is celebrating 200 years of winemaking in the land of the long white cloud.

From the humble beginnings of a single vine planted on 25 September 1819, New Zealand’s wine industry has grown to become a NZ$1.83 billion export earner, with an international reputation for premium, diverse and sustainable wines.

The man responsible for the pioneering vine – early arrival Reverend Samuel Marsden – gave New Zealand’s wine heritage a unique story as one of very few countries in the world where the exact date of the planting of the first vines is recorded.

While a significant number of European arrivals established vineyards in different regions in the ensuing years, it wasn’t until the second half of the last century that a new wave of Kiwi viticulturalists and winemakers began to earn their place in the international wine world, with award-winning New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines.

Today, the New Zealand wine industry consists of over 700 wineries and more than 600 grape growers.

“As New Zealand’s wine industry prepares to raise a toast to the past, it is also looking ahead to the future with a commitment to sustainability and innovation that will protect these wine regions for at least another 200 years,” says a Tourism New Zealand press release.

“In his diary, Marsden prophesied, ‘New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine, as far as I can judge at present of the nature of the soil and climate. Should the vine succeed, it will prove of vast importance in this part of the globe.’ His prediction has been brilliantly fulfilled.”

Learn more about the celebrations at Tourism New Zealand.

Do you like New Zealand wine? Are you surprised to learn that its winemaking is 200 years old?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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