Superior sauvignon society

They hope to protect the integrity, authenticity and brand value of wines produced in Marlborough with the “Appellation Marlborough Wine” initiative. (Photo: Marlborough NZ website)

A handful of Marlborough wine producers have launched an initiative that they hope will highlight the fact that all Marlborough sauvignon blanc is not equal.

You will soon see the “Appellation Marlborough Wine” logo appearing on bottles of Marlborough sauvignon blanc at a wine store or supermarket near you.

Eventually, they hope to protect the integrity, authenticity and brand value of wines produced in Marlborough, although the initiative is primarily aimed at sauvignon blanc, by far the region’s most important variety.

You will soon see the “Appellation Marlborough Wine” (AMW) logo appearing on bottles of Marlborough sauvignon blanc at a wine store or supermarket near you. The group already has 36 members, with many others expressing interest.

Sauvignon blanc producers can use the AMW logo on their labels if they satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The producer must be a paid-up member of AMW
  2. 100% of the grapes must have been grown in vineyards that are part of the sustainable viticulture program.
  3. 100% of the grapes are grown in Marlborough and the wine has been bottled in New Zealand.
  4. The wine is made from grapes “grown at an appropriate cropping level” to enhance quality and the Marlborough name. A maximum cropping level will be set for each vintage.
  5. If cropping levels exceed the allowed maximum, producers can submit samples to a tasting panel that will decide whether the wine can be certified.

It’s an ambitious scheme with the potential to raise the quality, and probably the price, of top-end Marlborough sauvignon blanc. If successful the AMW could become a template for producers in other regions to spotlight “superior” wines.

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