How to read a wine label: Part Three

In week one, we discussed wine labels from the United States. Week two, French wine labels. This week, I’m going back to the New World to share tips on New Zealand wines.

New Zealand is the world’s easternmost and southernmost winemaking country (cool climate).

New Zealand North Island Regions

Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Wellington (Wairarapa)

Grapes: Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc


New Zealand South Island Regions

Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury, Central Otago

Grapes: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir

Marlborough produces over half of the entire country’s wine, with nearly 10,000 ha of Sauvignon Blanc.

You may have noticed bottles of Pinot Noir from Central Otago popping up in your wine shops. Central Otago is the world’s southernmost region and is acclaimed for producing some of the best Pinot Noirs that the New World has to offer.  So grab a bottle next time you see one!

New Zealand Regulations:

  • Declaration of vintage and varietal is optional
  • The wine must contain at least 85% of the named grape variety
  • If there are two or more varietals the total must be 85% and they have to be listed in
  • descending order
  • No laws governing enrichment, acidification, pruning, yields, or irrigation techniques

Have you uncorked a wine from New Zealand lately? I’d love to know your thoughts!

2 thoughts on “How to read a wine label: Part Three

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