‘Heavy hit­ters’ sam­ple North­land wines

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Peter de Graaf

A two-day visit by wine writ­ers from the USA, UK, Rus­sia and Aus­tralia will help put North­land on the global wine tourism map ac­cord­ing to Kerik­eri wine­maker Rod McIvor.

The nine writ­ers, who were in New Zea­land for a Sau­vi­gnon Blanc Sym­po­sium in Marl­bor­ough, spent two days based in Rus­sell, vis­it­ing winer­ies, sail­ing and sam­pling lo­cal wines.

Mr McIvor, of Kerik­eri’s Mars­den Es­tate, said it was the first time New Zea­land Wine­grow­ers had brought a group of in­ter­na­tional jour­nal­ists to North­land, the party rep­re­sent­ing pub­li­ca­tions in­clud­ing Forbes, Mind­food, Martha Ste­wart On­line and Fodors, while oth­ers had large fol­low­ings on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram. Six were from the US, and one each from Rus­sia, the UK and Aus­tralia.

“They’re heavy hit­ters, they re­ally do have quite a bit of in­flu­ence. This puts us on the map as far as wine tourism goes,” he said.

The group flew di­rectly to Kerik­eri af­ter ar­riv­ing in New Zea­land on Jan­uary 24 and stayed two nights at the Duke of Marl­bor­ough. They boarded a yacht in Rus­sell wharf and toured the Bay, fol­lowed by tast­ing wines from Man­gawhai to Kaitaia at The Land­ing, on the Pure­rua Penin­sula.

The next day they were taken to Paroa Bay and Omata Es­tate, near Rus­sell, and Mars­den Es­tate, be­fore head­ing to Nel­son.

Mr McIvor said the na­tional body was keen to pro­mote North­land as a wine des­ti­na­tion.

New Zea­land Wine­grow­ers’ North­land chair­man Peter Jones said he was en­cour­aged by the in­creas­ing in­ter­est in North­land wines. This year was the bi­cen­ten­nial of the first plant­ing of grapevines in New Zea­land — by Sa­muel Mars­den, in Kerik­eri in 1819.

Mean­while, wine­grow­ers say the dry sum­mer so far means 2019 is shap­ing up to be a vin­tage year. Har­vest­ing is due to start in a few days’ time.

PIC­TURE / SUP­PLIED

Wine writ­ers from the US, UK, Rus­sia and Aus­tralia sam­pling the lo­cal prod­uct at The Land­ing, in the Bay of Is­lands.

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