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When you think of the history of wine, particularly from countries with wine-centric cultures, you think centuries, but for New Zealand it’s only decades. The growth in New Zealand’s wine production and quality has been nothing short of phenomenal. The ideal climate paired with passionate winemakers catapulted this region’s significant breakthrough over the past 20 years.

Only 10 years ago, New Zealand winemakers announced to the world, “You ain’t seen nothing yet,” and today we are seeing the results.

Many vines considered young (compared to other parts of the world) are now developed vineyards, playing a part in the ever-increasing quality. The Central Otego pinot noirs are finally gaining their much-deserved international recognition, and Marlborough sauvignon blancs are today’s acclaimed white wine style.

As this country continues to flourish, so do the consumers’ choices of other grape varieties, adding to New Zealand’s growing reputation.

Most of New Zealand’s Rieslings are produced in the cooler South Island regions. It is a style much more reserved than neighboring Australia, and between the light floral Riesling of Germany and the austere wines of Alsace.


  • 2008 Brancott Classics Riesling, New Zealand (about $18 retail)
  • 2008 Bird Marlborough Riesling, New Zealand (about $18 retail)


  • 2008 Spy Valley Riesling, New Zealand (about $24 retail)
  • 2008 Daniel Schuster Waipara Riesling, New Zealand (about $24 retail)
  • 2008 Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Riesling, New Zealand (about $22 retail)

Many of the best chardonnays are produced in the North Island regions of Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. The wines are usually creamy and zesty compared to other chardonnays of the world.


  • 2009 Monkey Bay Chardonnay, New Zealand (about $12 retail)
  • 2009 Oyster Bay Chardonnay, New Zealand (about $18 retail)


  • 2009 Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay, New Zealand (about $22 retail)
  • 2008 Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay, New Zealand (about $26 retail)