It’s a wrap
We are slowly recovering from the exhilarating journey that was Pinot Noir NZ 2017, recently held on the Wellington City Waterfront.
We were thrilled to host over 600 delegates from around the world who descended on our capital city, including 115 of the country’s best Pinot Noir producers, bringing together the largest ever group of New Zealand winegrowers in one place.
That’s quite a lot of glasses to polish…. 6000 to be precise.
But it was all worth it to celebrate of one of the world’s most revered grape varieties in one of the most exciting places it is planted on the planet.
Those that attended spent three days embarking on a virtual road trip, navigating New Zealand through its life blood – Pinot Noir. Together we could see, feel and be fully immersed in our Turangawaewae – our sense of place, where we stand, and where we draw our inspiration from.
The opportunity to be together as a community was invaluable, and the energy created as a result will propel us further on our pursuit for wine greatness.
An incredible array of speakers – both international keynotes and our own kiwi authorities – challenged us about who we are, how we define ourselves and what true greatness really is. We considered everything from the effect of music on wine, to fermenting with wild yeasts in the vineyard, to the big topic of our guardianship of our land and the process and practices of protecting and looking after the environment (kaitiakitanga).
775 different wines were poured over the three days at our comprehensive free flow tasting sessions and social events.
Everywhere on the Wellington waterfront was commandeered, from TSB Arena to The Michael Fowler Centre, to parts of Te Papa museum. This gave attendees the unique opportunity to follow a nationwide Pinot road trip within a few minutes walk of each wine region.
The wine regions themselves created some amazing spaces, which included everything from a caravan and Central Otago tussocks, to a ping-pong table complete with the vineyards of North Canterbury, and some pretty crazy taxidermy thrown in for good measure.
This didn’t detract from the seriousness of the subject at hand, which considered where New Zealand sits in the international wine world. While we produce only a small percentage of the world’s wine it became obvious we have a unique and compelling story to tell.
If there was a single take-home message it was that New Zealand Pinot Noir has come of age. We no longer need to compare ourselves to other parts of the world, but rather have a strong sense of who we are, and what we can offer to any discussion about quality wine on an international stage.
It was an epic journey for everyone involved in bringing this event together. Thank you to all that contributed to its success; our wineries and sponsors, our Board, NZ Winegrowers, and of course, those that travelled from across the country and all over the world to attend.
As wine writer John Saker commented:
“Wine is, at its best, a conduit for messages sent from the place it is grown. For the conduit to work effectively, people and place must be drawn together in a tight embrace – so tight, that the people (the shifting, transitory party) themselves become deeply affected and shaped by this place.”