The English navigator James Cook (1728-1779) took possession of the land consisting of two main islands for England in 1769. In 1819, the Anglican missionary Samuel Marsden (1765-1838) planted the first grapevines he had brought with him from Australia near Kerikeri on the north-east coast of the North Island. When Charles Darwin (1809-1882) went ashore from the ship Beagle at this very spot in 1835, "he saw healthy vines". James Busby (1802-1871), who had already founded Australian viticulture, planted a vineyard near Waitangi. He produced the first significant quantities of wine and is considered the first producer. The wine-growing region around Auckland was created by immigrants from Dalmatia, and Croatian families are still an integral part of New Zealand viticulture today. They were also the founders of Montana Wines and Nobilo, which today are among the largest New Zealand wineries.
In 1876 the fungal disease powdery mildew was introduced and in 1895 phylloxera. The Italian oenologist Romeo Bragato (1858-1914) made a special contribution to the fight against the pest. As a measure, mainly phylloxera-resistant hybrids were planted. As late as 1960, the most common grape variety was the red Isabella (here called Albany Surprise). Through extensive travel, Bragato identified the areas best suited for viticulture. He later became state viticulture director and founded a research institute in this capacity.
The fertile soil is largely of volcanic origin. There is abundant rainfall in summer and autumn. The climate is quite different between the warmer North Island and the colder but sunnier South Island. Viticulture remained confined to North Island until 1973. In South Island, the southernmost vineyards in the world are located in the Otago region. New Zealand is also the most easterly wine-growing country due to the proximity of the International Date Line. The wine-growing regions stretch from north to south over the two islands in a length of about 1,200 kilometres. The hierarchical structure is Country (New Zealand), Zone (North Island, South Island, East Coast), Region and Sub-Region. The regions in this order are:
The vineyard area covers 35,463 hectares, the annual wine production volume 3,204,000 hectolitres. It is worth noting New Zealand's role as a pioneer in the use of screwcaps from as early as the 1980s. In 2001, the "Screwcape Initiative" was founded. And in 2005, two out of three New Zealand bottles were already filled with screwcaps. About 70% of the wines produced are white. The best are the Sauvignon Blancs of Marlborough, which have established New Zealand's fame. But a good part of them are...
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Domäne Wachau (Wachau)