Winemaking in New Zealand dates back to their colonial times (the mid-1800s) but never really took off until the 1970s. Since then, New Zealand has gradually earned a reputation for producing high-quality wines, with their Sauvignon Blancs receiving widespread critical acclaim as they popularized a unique, assertive style for the grape.
New Zealand’s climate and geography play an important role in winemaking within the country. Many of the best wine regions lie in valleys carved out of the mountains that dominate the country, protecting vineyards from wind while the mountains help block excessive rain. Since New Zealand is an island nation, the surrounding waters tend to moderate temperatures, providing for cooler summers and milder winters and protecting the grapes from temperature extremes.
The most famous wine region in New Zealand is Marlborough, which is known for producing tremendous Sauvignon Blancs. New Zealand winemakers are also known for their highly-rated Pinot Noirs.