Everyone’s done a bit of travelling these days, right? In fairness, I don’t think I’d have called myself well travelled anyway, but especially given the uni mates I‘ve got, who packed up and spent a year going round the world while knobby here decided to go a job instead. To the man, I think their favourite place on their travels was New Zealand.
I’ve always wanted to go. Even before the wine thing started for me, the stories you hear of it being a paradise for outdoors-y kind of people, the photos you see of it, and (of course) the Lord of the Rings trilogy sealed the legend. But until you do some digging, you can really miss out on what makes it so incredible for vineyards.
Now I didn’t know this, but up to about 150 years ago it was covered by a tropical rainforest! In terms of the farming that followed, most of the very varied soils are so rich and fertile that crops and animals were all over it pretty quick.
Problem with vines though is that you don’t want the soil too good. Vines under stress produce grapes. Vines under stress, but not quite enough produce too many (diluted flavour) grapes. Eitherway, not great for good wine.
Luckily New Zealand is a geologist’s dream. There are plenty of different soils around, and couple that with the mountains, the rivers, the oceans, the winds, and the glorious sunshine, all they needed was good vine management techniques and the young wine industry (1970s onwards) was onto a winner.
But I have to say I’m sick of looking at pictures. I really want to go. One day soon, hopefully.
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