Although the country produces less than 1 percent of the world’s wine, New Zealand wines are known for their exceptional quality. Outstanding sauvignon blancs have been the country’s "trademark" wine since the mid-1980s, although New Zealand also grows merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah/ shiraz, viognier, chardonnay, gewürztraminer, pinot grigio, and riesling among others.
So what is it about this relatively small place (it’s actually 1,000 miles long) that allows for viticultural variety and excellence?
Between its north and south counterparts, this stretch of islands has a range of different climates and soil types that promote different grape varieties. The North Island is warmer, with volcanic mountains and hot springs, and the South Island is home to the Southern Alps and deep fjords. All in all, New Zealand encompasses climates ranging from subtropical in the north to almost arctic in the south!
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