1. New Zealand is a small wine producer in quantity with a big name for high quality.
2. It has a cool maritime climate with one semi-continental wine region – Central Otago.
3. It has 37,969 hectares of grapevines – a massive rise from 5,930 hectares in 1983.
4. Sauvignon Blanc makes up more than 85% of New Zealand wine exports.
5. Marlborough is the biggest region with 27,000 hectares of grapes; about 80% of them planted in Sauvignon Blanc.
6. Hawke’s Bay is the second biggest wine region with Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc in almost equal proportions.
7. Central Otago is the third biggest wine region with 80% of its vines in Pinot Noir.
8. The strong focus on particular grape varieties in these areas shows that New Zealand winemakers are playing to their regional strengths.
9. Pinot Noir is the most planted red in the country with 72% of red grapes; Merlot is next with 15%.
10. New Zealand followed in the Australian footsteps by adopting screwcaps to preserve freshness in wine – it now leads the world, with 97% of its wines sealed this way.
Joelle Thomson is a wine writer, journalist and author. She’s an avid lover of wine and currently writes for Capital magazine, Good magazine, NZ Winegrower, Drinksbiz, and her own site,www.joellethomson.com
She also teaches, works in radio, and more, so we've enlisted her help to sniff out our amazing value wines!