Wednesday, 03 June 2015 09:18

Confidently achieving

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"When you have confidence you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun you can do amazing things." So said an American footballer by the name of Joe Namath.

It's a quote that I think sums up where the New Zealand wine industry is at currently.

For the past 30 years the industry has worked tirelessly to create something, almost from scratch. Now in 2015, wine is New Zealand's 6th largest export earner and has gained an international reputation that normally comes only with hundreds of years of experience.

We can all have confidence in the products emanating from this part of the world. Our Sauvignon Blanc is among the worlds best. Our Pinot Noir is equally renowned and we have a long list of other varietals of outstanding quality ready to make their mark.

Having lots of fun tends to go without saying. Most people in the wine industry are there because they love it.

The sheer enthusiasm expressed by winemakers, viticulturists and marketing personnel, is almost unique to this industry. There have been tough times, but we appear to have weathered them well and come out the other side, still smiling and more importantly still growing.

So that leads us to achieving great things, as the quote above says. There can be no doubt that that has already happened, with the price points our wines achieve, the increased export success, and the continued high regard our wines are held in.

With the confidence gained already, the New Zealand wine industry is in the enviable position (when compared to a number of other wine producers) where it can experiment and develop even further.

Which brings us to this issue of NZWinegrower. As the stories began coming in, I realised just how many were about achievements on a range of scales. From a couple of new wine styles – one in Nelson, the other in North Canterbury, to foreigners who have become so enamored of our wine industry that they have moved here to fulfill their dreams. There are more and more training opportunities for those wanting to pursue a career in wine, whether that be as a maker or a viticulturist and New Zealand is attracting large numbers of foreign students keen to learn our methods and techniques.

Then there is the world-class research that is being undertaken here that is changing the way we treat old foes such as botrytis. To say nothing of the achievement of a Hawke's Bay company to produce the southern hemisphere's first ever concrete fermenting egg.

All these 'achievements' and more feature this issue.

Renowned viticulturist Dr Richard Smart sums up just why New Zealand is doing so well, in an opinion piece that compares our wine industry to that of Australia's. There is a lot to be proud of, which Smart is quick to point out.

We will always be a small player in terms of world production, but what we can be confident about is what we have achieved in just 30 years. That confidence is a major factor in where we are currently and it can only help us to achieve even greater things in the future. ■

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