Not just the source of Sauvignon Blanc - this green and pleasant land has other top-class whites, and impressive reds too.
If Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular grape varieties in the world today, then much of the thanks must go to New Zealand. And what once was thought of as only a white-wine country is today making smashing reds.
Even without Sauvignon Blanc, The Land of the Long White Cloud has lots to offer wine drinkers. And what's more, it has a consistency across the board that few countries can match.
New Zealand was once dismissed as fit only for Muller-Thurgau, the grape behind most Liebfraumilch. Then in the 1980s, Sauvignon Blanc hit the world's palate, and progress since has been astounding. Marlborough is the largest region, and while Sauvignon dominates here, excellent Chardonnay, sparkling wine and Riesling also exist. The reds are rapidly improving, too.
Hawke's Bay has richer whites, top-class Bordeaux-style reds and promising Syrah. Martinborough excels with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, while Central Otago is home to some of the world's lushest Pinot, as well as very good Pinot Gris and Riesling. Other highlights are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Nelson, Cabernet-based reds from Waiheke Island and Chenin Blanc from Gisborne. Don't write anything off in this vibrant wine country - Zinfandel, Tempranillo and Nebbiolo already exist in commercial quantities.
Central Otago is the world's most southerly wine region. It's also the highest in New Zealand.
When were the first grapevines planted in New Zealand?
In 1819 by Anglican missionary Samuel Marsden.