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About NZ Pinot Noir

What is New Zealand Pinot Noir?

Hands up if you’d rather we addressed that question by telling you what New Zealand pinot noir isn’t? Good, you can put your hands down now. New Zealand pinot noir isn’t something that was planned. It was more a happy accident.

Historically pinot appears to have been planted in the North Island’s Wairarapa region as far back as 1883, but its lovechild life really didn’t kick off until a century later when kiwis were all about shoulder pads and sylvaner, mullet haircuts and muller thurgau, leather ties and Liebestraum. Looking for something beyond Blue Nun, a handful of families from the North and South decided to have a crack at pinot noir. Who knows? It could work.

By the late 1980’s, local wine show accolades began rolling in. By 1991 gold medals followed in Australia, then London and talk of a potential new pinot powerhouse began to trickle around the world. It wasn’t Burgundy; it was a new southern belle, saturated with fruit and bursting with fresh spices, wrapped in an earthy, mineral-driven cloak of character that set it apart from everything, anywhere.

Twenty five years later New Zealand pinot noir has claimed no fewer than nine Bouchard Finlayson Trophies for Best Pinot Noir Worldwide*, staged four international conferences and has cemented its pedigree with unprecedented pace.

From Central Otago to North Canterbury, Nelson and Marlborough in the south, over Cook Strait to Martinborough/Wairarapa, Central Hawke’s Bay and Auckland in the north, any New Zealand wine lover will tell you; pinot noir is a crazy chance we’re glad we took.

*This trophy is bestowed on the top pinot noir at London’s annual International Wines and Spirit Competition (IWSC), which draws entries from 90 countries throughout the world.

Pinot Noir NZ – The evolution of an event

By the turn of the millennium, the trophy cabinets of many New Zealand pinot noir producers were in need of some serious reinforcement, groaning under the weight of a decade of medal hauls for this ‘new’ variety.

So much shoe leather had also been sacrificed in selling our style of pinot around the globe, that it was unanimously decided back in 2001, that our winemakers should save their air miles and  instead bring the world of pinot noir to New Zealand. They would create an experience to showcase everything unique about growing pinot in our little piece of paradise – and invite people  from all over the world.

It was the birth of an event that has since been lauded for its style, excellence and all-round awesomeness. To give you some idea of the exponential increase in the popularity of this event and in New Zealand pinot full-stop – that very first pinot conference highlighted just over 100 wines from the nations top pinot producers – in 2017 you’ll see more than 300.

Over 3 days you’ll also be treated to the very best local cuisine, insanely good kiwi entertainment and access to insights and knowledge gathered from world-renowned wine communicators and winemakers, all on the jawdroppingly beautiful and buzzing Wellington city waterfront.

This is why it’s described around the world as “the best Pinot Noir event on the planet”. Whether you’re an expert or just an enthusiast, this essential event attracts some of the greatest international minds on the subject of pinot noir. The pinot-packed programme will immerse delegates in the land, the people and the culture of New Zealand. You’ll be educated, stimulated and connected to what makes our pinot noir so special.

New Zealand’s five pinot-producing regions are fully exposed and there’s nowhere to hide. Freestyle forums allow for uncensored opinions to be heard and thoughts will be challenged on everything from agricultural methods, natural winemaking, style preferences and the very future of the fastest growing wine story of the 21st century.

So there it is. From 31 Jan – 2 February, Pinot Noir NZ 2017 will be, without question, the place to be in the wine world. There will be tastings, teasers, debates, drama, seminars, swimming, guest speakers and darn amazing dinners, danger and intrigue; because let’s be honest, there is nothing ‘safe’ about producing pinot here…



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