International Sauvignon Blanc Day recognises an iconic varietal that continues to surprise and delight


International Sauvignon Blanc Day on 3 May is an opportunity to recognise the contribution of the Marlborough viticulture industry, and to reflect on another year of excellence for this iconic varietal wine.

Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens describes why Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has earned its place on the world stage.

“Marlborough-produced Sauvignon Blanc made a massive impact from the very first taste all those decades ago. It sort of shocked and surprised everyone with its intensity of aromas and flavours,” Marcus says. “While Sauvignon Blanc is produced in many countries, Marlborough wine stands on its own for its purity and flavour intensity. Our Sauvignon Blanc is crisp, zesty and tropical – undeniably aromatic.”

And, with the emergence of new and alternative styles, Sauvignon Blanc is still surprising and delighting people.

“Diversity is part of the Sauvignon Blanc success story.

“Growers, winemakers and the hospitality and tourism industries are exploring and innovating with the style, subregions, business models and experiences they create for both New Zealanders and international visitors.

“This is a fascinating sector where we have family-owned, pioneering brands branching out in new areas, in the spirit of continuous advancement, working alongside newer corporate-owned brands.

“Each are doing different things with Sauvignon Blanc, but on the whole the industry is collaborating and pushing forward,” Marcus says.

An emergence of new and alternative styles Marcus says that continual advancements in viticulture and winemaking have seen the emergence of alternative Sauvignon Blanc styles made using different techniques – such as oak-aging, barrel fermenting, wild fermenting and the creation of low or no-alcohol wines.

“Zero percent wines, Sauvignon Blanc included, have emerged as a real force,” Marcus says.

“There is enough innovation underway to introduce a new ‘alternative Sauvignon Blanc’ class at the 2023 Marlborough Wine Show.

“We are blessed with the type of climate, terroir and water purity that Sauvignon Blanc grapes thrive in, but the flavour and quality is brought to the fore by incredibly skilled viticulturalists and winemakers,” Marcus says.

“In Marlborough, we have a phenomenally-skilled industry – we attract and retain some of the world’s best winemakers and trainees. A remarkable provenance story Marcus says another reason to celebrate International Sauvignon Blanc Day is the remarkable provenance story of Marlborough wine. In August 2023 the industry celebrated the 50 th anniversary of Marlborough’s official beginning as a wine region.

“We have a lot to be proud of in Marlborough. Sauvignon Blanc is our signature wine that restaurants and hotels worldwide have embraced.

“It is worth reflecting on the fact that in those pioneering winemaking days, few people would have predicted Marlborough’s rapid ascent to become one of New Zealand’s preeminent – and internationally renowned – wine-growing regions.

“For many of our winegrowing pioneers – Frank Yukich, the Rose, Sutherland, Ibbotson, Marris and Scott families, just to name a few – it would have been gut instinct backed by climate science,” Pickens says.

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