LEON GRICE - NEW ZEALAND CONSUL-GENERAL, LOS ANGELES - TALKING NEW ZEALAND WINES
New Zealand is a land like no other. New Zealand Wine is an experience like no other. Our special combination of soil, climate and water, our innovative pioneering spirit and our commitment to quality all come together to deliver pure, intense and diverse experiences. In every glass of New Zealand Wine is a world of pure discovery. Welcome to our world.
New Zealand extends 1,600km (1000 miles) from sub-tropical Northland (36° S) to the world’s most southerly grape growing region Central Otago (46° S). Vineyards benefit from the moderating effect of the maritime climate (no vineyard is more than 120km, or 80 miles, from the ocean) with long sunshine hours and nights cooled by sea breezes.
New Zealand wine is distinctive for its purity, vibrancy and intensity. The long ripening period - a result of cool temperatures - allows flavour development whilst retaining fresh acidity, a balance for which New Zealand wines are renowned. There are a number of distinct major winegrowing regions spread throughout New Zealand, with the majority on the East coast of the Islands in the rain shadow of the mountains. Within these diverse regions, sub-regional characteristics are beginning to show through and wines are now being distinguished as being not just from a wine region, but from a sub-region and a place. We hope you enjoy discovering our regions and producers.
New Zealand produces less than 1% of the world’s wine, yet offers an impressive array of varieties and styles. Central to our success is New Zealand’s temperate, maritime climate, the unswerving passion of our wine producers and the highly distinctive nature of our wine styles.
It was Sauvignon Blanc that put New Zealand on the wine map, however the diversity and sophistication of our portfolio of wine styles has ensured the love affair with New Zealand wine lives on around the world.
New Zealand's expansive coastline enables us to succeed with a range of diverse varieties and styles; from the warmer climate wines, such as Bordeaux-style blends and Syrah, grown in Hawke's Bay and further north, through to much cooler climate wines, such as Pinot Noir and Riesling grown in the southerly regions.
Whatever your preferences for wine styles, chances are we have a New Zealand Wine to suit your palate.
ROD BERGLUND - OWNER/WINEMAKER, JOSEPH SWAN VINEYARDS
"Are you Mr. Swan?"... "Is there/was there a Joe Swan?"... "How did the winery get its name?"
The winery was named by Joe Swan when he founded it forty eight years ago. Joe came to winemaking from an unlikely background. He grew up the son of teetotaler parents (his mother was in the Women's Christian Temperance Union) in the farm country of North Dakota. He was an avid reader (there not being a whole lot else to do), and he happened to read about wine. Not lacking for imagination but definitely lacking for grapes, he nonetheless set out to make wine. Using his mother's ringer washing machine, he squeezed the juice from some rhubarb from the garden, and, in a crock he had secreted in the attic, proceeded to produce his first "wine".
History doesn't record the score this first effort received from the critics, but one can safely assume that it didn't rival his later efforts! Nonetheless, the beginning of a quest to become a winemaker was born. In the intervening years, Joe was an artist. He would later say that the only painting of significance that he did was on a famous mural painted during the depression. He was paid by the WPA and his job was to paint the blades of grass! Joe decided that he lacked the ability to succeed as an artist and pursued another of his interests in flying. During WWII he taught flying to the Army Air Corps and then took a job with Western Airlines as a pilot, a career path that he would follow until his retirement in 1974. During this time, his love affair with winemaking and grape-growing never waned. He visited the enology and viticulture department at UC Davis in the years immediately after the war and made several friends there. While based in Salt Lake City, Utah, he made Zinfandel from locally grown grapes, a wine dubbed "Jose's Rose" by his flying buddies. Later when based in Southern California, he purchased land in the Sierra foothills where he planted a small vineyard. But his real goal was to establish a small vineyard and winery where he could follow his dream, to produce small lots of the world's finest wines.
Joe really believed that, when it came to grape growing and winemaking, small was beautiful. A small vineyard could be tended by one person. Small crops led to more intense, ageworthy wines. A small winery allowed you to oversee every aspect from fermentation to bottling. Joe was a perfectionist and felt that if the wine was to carry his name, then he should be personally responsible for every aspect of its production.
In 1967 he purchased a small farm on Laguna Road near the town of Forestville in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. The property consisted of 13 acres of old Zinfandel vines, fruit trees and pasture along with several structures including an old barn and a nearly 100 year old house. In addition to the physical attributes, it included an interesting history. The house once housed the post office of the village of Trenton along with the general store and telephone exchange.