Pinot Noir is the standout variety on the wine scene, with exports of the drink made from black Vitis vinifera grapes doubling in the last decade.
The red wine is big business to New Zealand.
The value of pinot noir sold to overseas drinkers hit $122 million last year, up from only $19m a decade ago.
It is the second most popular variety after our star sauvignon blanc, with pinot noir vines planted on more than a million more hectares than chardonnay.
A four-day festival dedicated to the tipple was launched on Wellington’s waterfront yesterday, with 500 people attending. Pinot Noir NZ 2013 spokesman Robert Brewer said the industry in New Zealand had evolved since the first three-yearly event in 2001.
I was very lucky to be a guest of Visa at the Pinot Noir festival last night. They had dozens of different Pinot Noirs flowing on demand. I couldn’t even attempt to try them all, but did sample a fair few. My favourite was the 2007 Grasshopper which sadly ran out it was so popular.
As if dozens of great wines wasn’t enough, they had 12 of Wellington’s best chefs there including Logan Brown, Martin Bosley and Ruth Pretty. Scallops, lamb, salmon etc. I think I undid a fortnight of exercise in one night – but it was worth it
Putting aside my personal enjoyment, the NZ wine industry success with Pinot Noir is a great story. 500% export growth over a decade is superb and I’ve noted when overseas how often NZ wine is offered in restaurants as a premium wine.