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Celebrating 200 Years of New Zealand Wine

Celebrating 200 Years of New Zealand Wine

September 25 2019 marks 200 years since the first planting of grapevines in New Zealand.

From the humble beginnings of a vine planted in Northland, the New Zealand wine industry has grown to become a $1.83 billion export earner, with an international reputation for premium, diverse and sustainable wines.

Reverend Samuel Marsden, Chaplain to New South Wales (1765-1838), records September 25 1819 as the day he planted a vine in the rich grounds of the Stone Store, Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. These pioneering vines were the very first to be planted into New Zealand soils, with New Zealand being one of very few countries in the world where the exact date of the planting of the first vines is known, making our story unique on the world stage.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, a significant number of European immigrants came to New Zealand and set up vineyards in different regions. They each contributed to the early establishment of the diverse wine regions of New Zealand. The New Zealand wine industry today consists of over 700 wineries and more than 600 grape growers, with the growing success of this industry depending strongly on the commitment and passion of the people behind it.

Since the 1990s, there has been an evolution in the grape varieties that we see planted throughout our regions. Sauvignon Blanc is now the most widely planted variety, accounting for 76% of total production, followed by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

As we raise a toast to the past, we also look ahead to the future. The New Zealand wine industry is dedicated to ensuring that we celebrate another 200 years, through a commitment to sustainability and innovation that will protect the places that make our famous wines. Over 98% of New Zealand’s vineyard producing area is now Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) certified – and this is unmatched by any voluntary scheme around the world.

New Zealand Winegrowers will be marking the 200 year anniversary with an industry event in Northland, including a ceremonial re-planting at the historic Stone Store, followed by a regional wine tasting and dinner on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

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.

-Ends-


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