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Across the Cook Strait on North Island, Wellington, around the town of Martinborough, has a cool climate, long dry autumns and gravel soils - all precisely suiting the requirements of the finicky Pinot Noir vine. Wines from this area rival the finest Pinot Noirs, and their refreshing acidity gives them the potential for further aging. Wellington also produces some botrysized Riesling which can be very fine.
As with nearby Australia, New Zealand has over the past century proven itself to be a superb location for producing high quality wines in vast amounts, with much of the cooler regions of both islands being used primarily for vine cultivation. New Zealand wineries are notable for their enthusiasm in regards to experimentation, and for utilizing modern technologies and methods to make the most of the imported grape varietals which flourish in the rich, fertile soils and oceanic climate. In recent years, it has been the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines which have gained the most attention, as a result of their smoky character and ability to carry the mineral rich nature of the terroir they grow in. Changing consumer interests have brought about a considerable rise in the production of organic and sustainable wines in New Zealand, of which again, the Sauvignon Blanc varietals are leading the way in regards to excellence, flavor and overall character.