New Zealand is the seventeenth largest wine producer in the world. The country is split into two islands, the north island and the south island. The north island was initially the main producer of wine in New Zealand but it has spread out into the south island and expanded there. The main wine regions in New Zealand are Auckland, Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough in the North Island and Marlborough and Otago in the South Island. New Zealand’s vineyards benefit from the moderating effect of the maritime climate (no vineyard is more than 120km, or 80 miles, from the ocean) with long sunshine hours and nights cooled by sea breezes. New Zealand wine is distinctive for its purity, vibrancy and intensity. The long ripening period allows flavours to develop whilst retaining a fresh acidity, this balance is without a doubt what New Zealand wines are renowned for. New Zealand exported over 52 million litres of wine to the UK in 2011. It was the Sauvignon Blanc breakthrough in the 1980s that put New Zealand on the map and it has been said that it is arguably the best in the world. Sauvignon Blanc continues to be the greatest grown grape with 69% of the grapes grown in New Zealand being Sauvignon Blanc. 10% are Pinot Noir, 8% are Chardonnay and 5.5% are Pinot Gris.
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