According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), New Zealand has slipped from 14th to 16th largest wine producing country in 2017 after being overtaken by Hungary and Brazil.
My last tasting before leaving home included a number of durifs and malbecs, full-bodied Aussie reds that go well with hearty winter foods.
Bodega Cuarto Surco Malbec 2014, Argentina, NZD $38.50
While other world wine regions including Australia, California and Spain, have been withering in droughts and sweltering in record-hot temperatures, Argentina has just had its wettest and coolest wine-growing season for over 30 years.
At the Six Nations Wine Challenge in Sydney last year, Argentina won seven out of the ten top places in the Malbec class with Australia occupying the other three places. No surprises there. I chose not to enter any New Zealand Malbecs in that class.
New Zealand was the overwhelming winner at the 2015 Six Nations Wine Challenge. And Australia was arguably the big loser.
There are many competitions which allow New Zealand wines to compete against those from other countries. Because much of our wine is exported it’s useful to see how they stack up against the competition.
I’ve just finished selecting New Zealand’s entries for the 13th Six Nations Wine Challenge held in Sydney each year. The competition started as a head-to-head match between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Chile, Argentina and the United States were added more recently.
Which country was the world’s biggest wine producer in 2014?
I’ve just completed my annual Pinot Noir tasting. A total of 275 wines were submitted by wineries in every region south of Gisborne. The best were better than ever and the same applies to the wines at the other end of the quality scale. I was surprised and gratified by the enthusiasm for our most prestigious, if not most prolific, varietal wine during a recent trip through Asia, Europe and the US. Pinot Noir lovers are enthusiastic. They are quick to appreciate exciting wines from emerging regions.