The book starts with an introduction to the history of the New Zealand wine industry, but doesn’t dwell on the very beginnings, but highlights the more important and long-reaching events and people. This is followed by an overview of the climate of the country, then a chapter on the leading grape varieties. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in the whites receive the most attention, along with Riesling, and interestingly it’s Pinot Noir, with Syrah before the Bordeaux-varieties, finishing with an exposé on sparkling wines. The Grape Variety section is probably the weakest point of the book to me; I would have liked more on other varieties, such as Pinot Gris, Viognier, and emerging varieties, and some more separation of the Bordeaux-varieties, these being potentially ‘leading’.
The meat of the book is with the author taking the reader to all the important vignobles. In the North Island, it covers Northland, Auckland, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and the Wairarapa. For the South Island we visit Marlborough, Nelson, Canterbury and North Canterbury, the Waitaki Valley, finishing with Central Otago.
The final part of the book is a look at ‘Contemporary New Zealand’ and includes the author’s thoughts on overall pathways of the future for the industry. The author recounts the attitude of innovation that features in the industry, with subjects such as the early adoption of screwcap closures, and the introduction of new vineyard technology.
Infinite Ideas Ltd, Oxford, 2018, ISBN 978-1-906821-84-1