New Zealand is located in the southwestern Pacific ocean and comprises two main land masses called North Island and South Island, plus the Cook Islands. New Zealand’s wine ten wine regions extend 700 miles (1,100km) from subtropical Northland (35° S) down to Central Otago (45° S), home to some of the world’s most southerly vineyards. No vineyard is more than 80 miles (120km) from the ocean.

Organic & Biodynamic wine production data: See here.

Organics & Biodynamics: New Zealand ranks with Austria for the high overall quality of its organic and Biodynamic wines. This is due to various factors, the key one in the case of Biodynamics being the influence of the late Peter Proctor, who instilled in New Zealand’s Biodynamic wine-growers the importance of making high quality Biodynamic preparations 500-508, high quality Biodynamic compost 502-507, and high quality Biodynamic compost sprays such as his Cow Pat PitNew Zealand is also blessed in that the majority of its organic or Biodynamic vineyards are grazed at some stage during the year by sheep, cows, horses or other livestock. This is important because Biodynamics sees the world as made up of three ‘kingdoms’, namely the mineral (in the soil for example), the vegetal (all plants, not just vines) and the animal. I think this ‘living’ element for want of a better term shines through in the best of New Zealand’s organic and Biodynamic wines. Not that Peter Proctor would have known–he was teetotal. The Biodynamic Association in New Zealand is in charge of Demeter Biodynamic certification. Organic Winegrowers New Zealand is the national body for organic wine-growers.

Regions: Auckland (North Island). | Canterbury (South Island). | Central Otago (South Island). | Central North Island (North Island). | Gisborne (North Island). | Hawke’s Bay. | Marlborough (South Island). | Martinborough. | Nelson (South Island). | North Canterbury. Northland (North Island). | Ohau. |  Waiheke Island (North Island). | Wairarapa (North Island). | Waipara (South Island). | Waikato and Bay of Plenty. | Waitaki Valley (South Island).

Vineyard area: 2019 38,000 hectares planted with over 40 varieties. | 2020 39,935ha (2% up on 2019) comprising 2023 vineyards (average 19.3 ha per vineyard) planted with 32,155ha of white grapes and 7,720ha of red grapes.

Grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc. | Pinot noir. | Syrah.

Vintages

2018 Warm summer. Very early start to harvesting. 419,000 tonnes of grapes harvested, up 6% on the (small) 2017 tonnage, but lower than initially anticipated. 2018 saw increased production of red wines, with both Pinot Noir and Merlot up over 20% on 2017, a year in which both varieties had been down sharply. New Zealand wine exports were valued at $1.71 billion (mid-2018), up 3% in the past year. Wine is New Zealand’s fifth largest export good.

Bibliography

Jared White of BioGro, 10 July 2015, Organic Wine Conference, Blenheim, New Zealand. 

Andreas Welte, ‘Organic Vineyard Update, Harvests–Magazine of the Bio Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association in New Zealand Inc., (Winter 2002, Vol 55 No. 2, p.12).