New Zealand Wines Make Their Mark

New Zealand Wines Make Their Mark

Food & Drink

New Zealand Wines Make Their Mark


There is nothing like a good story to get a food lover to pay attention. And when it’s food and wine, it’s easy–just tell the story.

That’s what Noblio Wines is doing when it provides the background on its company. It all started in 1936, when war threatened Croatia, the native home of Nikola and Zuva Nobilo. They decided to start over and move to New Zealand, a country nearly halfway around the world. When they boarded a ship to begin their long passage, they left behind nearly everything they owned–with one exception. They brought with them more than 300 years of winemaking tradition.

As it turns out, that tradition coupled with hard work was everything they needed to succeed in their new homeland. In 1943, they planted some of New Zealand’s first commercial vines at Huapai, west of Auckland.

As the story goes, it wasn’t easy at first. Laws didn’t favor the wine industry, and New Zealanders didn’t drink wine with meals the way Europeans did. Nikola stuck to it, making all his equipment by hand and supporting his family by farming. He also successfully lobbied the government to change the country’s liquor laws to allow wine to be served with food in restaurants.

By the 1970s, Nikola was a successful winemaker who helped lead the move from hybrid grapes to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. He also worked on developing new wine growing regions-most notably Marlborough. In 1994, Nikola was awarded an Order of the British Empire medal for his contribution to the New Zealand wine industry

Over the years, New Zealand wine became sought after and overseas demand soon followed for wines produced by the early innovators of the industry. New Zealand wine is distinctive for its purity, vibrancy and intensity and is home to what many wine critics consider the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc. Oz Clarke, a well known British wine critic wrote in the 1990s that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was “arguably the best in the world.”

As a nation of islands with 10,000 miles of coastline and the maximum distance from land to sea around 80 miles, this glorious country (NZ) benefits from a temperate maritime climate. The extremes of heat and cold experienced by other landlocked, continental countries mostly don’t apply. The unique climate, coupled with the soil structure and our passion for the land, is what contributes to producing world renowned Nobilo wines.

New Zealand’s wine growing regions are found between latitudes of 34° to 47° and cover a distance of 1000 miles from most northern to most southern. To maximise the diversity of the distinct micro-climates, Nobilo grows grapes in a wide range of local climatic conditions and soil types promoting highly distinctive regional flavors. The northern hemisphere equivalent would run from Bordeaux (between the latitudes of 44 and 46 degrees) down to southern Spain.

This balance between fruit and acidity is one of the key signatures of Nobilo wine, and an important reason why they work so well with food. Their winemaker, David Edmonds, was born in Wellington, New Zealand the same year the first Sauvignon Blanc vines were planted in Marlborough. As a child, David spent a lot of time visiting the wine district just north of Wellington with his parents. It was during those family outings when his interest in grape-growing and winemaking took root.

After earning a degree in horticulture science at Christchurch’s Lincoln University, Dave headed up to Hawke’s Bay on the North Island for his first vintage. He still wasn’t quite sure whether he wanted to pursue viticulture or winemaking; by lunchtime on his first day, though, he was hooked on winemaking.

“I’ve always been drawn to Sauvignon Blanc’s capacity to bring the palate alive. I’m also convinced the tools for making wines of complexity and depth have never been greater—my mission is to unlock the possibilities still undiscovered,” says Edmonds.

To find the wine pairings, follow the links below.

Lamb Scallops

Pan Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chatham Cod

Pavlova with Fruit


Noblio Wines is a sponsor of this content.


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