Tuesday, 09 December 2014 00:00

Time to celebrate - Editorial

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The International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration is only 14 months away, with the date set for early February 2016.

For the first time New Zealand will take centre stage alongside its flagship variety, and show the world just why it is such a classic.

 As one of the committee members mentioned recently, “Sauvignon Blanc can cop a lot at times”, with most of it being totally undeserving. Winemaker Brian Bicknell says the International Celebration will provide the perfect opportunity to show how the variety is not just a trend. Instead Sauvignon Blanc is a wine that clearly shows its terroir, it ages well, is versatile, and produces wines that are great matches for a wide range of food styles. What is there not to like?

That was never more apparent than in a recent article released by the drinks business, in the UK.

In their Global Masters Series, focusing on Sauvignon Blanc, a group of Masters of Wine and senior wine buyers, tasted their way through 150 wines, from 17 different countries. New Zealand wines took out a large number of the medals awarded, but it was the Masters comments about our wines that really stood out. They acknowledged the significant impact that New Zealand has had on Sauvignon Blanc.

“New Zealand has been so successful, it’s shaped the market,” said Clive Barlow MW, director of merchant and consultancy business Press Wine Services.

“New Zealand has raised the profile of the variety. It made people realize there’s more out there and maybe helped to break that Pinot Grigio stranglehold.” He continued; “New Zealand has moved people towards a grape that they might not otherwise have tried”.

It is a pleasure to read an expert in his field, acknowledge the importance of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Just a shame some people here at home can’t be quite as generous.

Hopefully by the time the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration kicks off, those naysayers will be prepared to accept just how much this variety has done for the New Zealand wine industry and the esteem it is held in, throughout the world

On a completely different note, it is that time of the year when NZ Winegrower takes a close look at what has happened in the past 12 months and who or what has stood out as an industry-changer. The NZ Winegrower Personality of the Year is our chance to acknowledge that individual, couple or product that made the impact. 

Sometimes it is easy, an outstanding contribution comes to mind instantly. I think of Jeanette and Kim Goldwater, who were our Personalities of the Year back in 2011. The gifting of their renowned Waiheke Island vineyard and winery to the University of Auckland Wine Science Department, was such a philanthropic gift, it deserved far more credit than we could ever give, with the Personality of the Year title. 

Other winners since the recognition was established by former Editor Terry Dunleavy include; Sir George Fistonich, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc growers, James and Annie Millton, Dr Mike Trought, young viticulturists, Stuart Smith and even – Oyster Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc, awarded the title in 2008 after its unprecedented attack on world markets.

This year we again acknowledge an individual, for his foresight a few years back in the New Zealand Winegrower Personality of the Year.

As 2014 ends, and 2015 looms, I wish everyone in the industry good luck for the coming busy weeks. May your holiday period be one of sunshine, warmth and good cheer.

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