Wine making is an art that New Zealand has been familiar with and successful at since 1817. Since then, the wine industry in New Zealand has flourished with over 70 million litres being exported on an annual basis. There are many areas where wine is produced in large quantities, here are 10 of the largest where the climate is most favourable and each are famous or known for a particular type of wine; Marlborough is known for it’s succulent sauvignon blanc; Gisborne for its dry chardonnay; Central Otago and Martinborough each known for their pinot noir and pinot grigios; Hawkes Bay produces large and full bodied cabernets and Auckland is home to one of the top cabernet blends known across the globe.
Wine was not historically prominent inside New Zealand, largely in part because of the extremely high price of imported wine in restaurants. These prices deterred any sort of real growth in the industry but did help the growth of local wines and vintages. The higher prices of imported and foreign brands were a blessing in disguise as they allowed for a heavier focus on the development of the local wines. The quality of these wines developed and by 1963, New Zealand’s wine had won 3 gold and 13 silver medals at the International Wine fair. These awards continued and economic conditions began (in the 1980’s and 90’s) to favour the wine industry and consumption.
Contrary to popular belief, beer actually outranks wine in terms of domestic consumption, making up over 60% of alcohol available and sold in New Zealand. The country ranks within the top 30 countries in terms of per capita beer consumption with the average person consuming 65 litres every year. Lagers are the domestic favorite in terms of both production and consumption. Pale or amber lagers and 4-5% alcohol percentages are the most common. Lion Nathan and DB Breweries are the largest in the country, with smaller craft breweries starting to pop up and gain popularity all over the country. This is no surprise as New Zealand has some of the most unique hops in the world.