The Great New Zealand Wine Tiki Tour comes to town on May 5th—which is the perfect time of year. Spring has sprung and we’re just beginning to see much of the great seafood that pairs so well with New Zealand wines.
Every year the Kiwis roll into Vancouver with a different message. That’s because New Zealand has plenty to talk about. This year it’s back to Sauvignon Blanc—but not in a generic sense.
I don’t think you can underestimate the impact that New Zealand—and Sauvignon Blanc in particular—has had on our own wine culture. If you cast your mind back a couple of decades, almost everything we were drinking was oaked, seriously oaked. Then, in the 90s, the Kiwis started coming to Vancouver on a regular basis. Their more fruit-driven, crisp white wine styles proved a perfect match for lots of BC seafood. And their reds, especially Pinot Noir, offered a lighter touch than we’d been used to from other regions.
You can also thank New Zealand for driving the bus on screw caps: something that BC got behind big time, well in advance of most other places. We did it partly because we were so over corked wines. But mainly because of people like screw cap crusader Dr. John Forrest. He poured wines from identical batches of Forrest Estate, side by side, one under cork and one under screw cap. It was a convincing demonstration—and a perfect move to show off the freshness of New Zealand wines.
These days, thanks to the Kiwis, this side of the 49th parallel, nobody even thinks twice about twisting off a screwcap. Cork or Stelvin? It’s no longer even an issue …
Even though the country is far flung from Vancouver, I like to think of New Zealand as one of our closest neighbours, especially in terms of food and wine. Like the Okanagan Valley (except on a much larger scale) the country’s wine regions are aligned longitudinally over 1,500 km., providing an immense diversity of growing conditions and a wide range of contrasting terroirs.
The Great New Zealand Wine Tiki Tour (May 5th, 7-9.30 pm, at The Terminal City Club) promises a fascinating tour throughout New Zealand’s wine regions. Plus a chance to discover just how varied styles of Sauvignon Blanc can be, whether from Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay, Waipara or elsewhere. Even within the same region, styles are constantly evolving with different expressions of terroir, occasionally with degrees of oak influence and so on. Lower alcohol wines and sparkling are also on the rise.
The score of wineries coming to Vancouver represents the best of New Zealand. And, while Sauvignon Blanc is the main theme, there’s also plenty more…
See you there!
Participating Wineries :
Ara Wines • Babich Wines • Clark Estate • Invivo Wines • Marisco Vineyards • Marlborough Wine • Matua Wines • Mud House Wines • Oyster Bay Wines • Pernod Ricard Winemakers • Sacred Hill Vineyards • Saint Clair Family Estate • Sileni Estates • Spy Valley Wines • Staete Landt Wine Company • Stoneleigh Vineyards • te Pa Family Vineyards • Toi Toi Wines • Villa Maria Estate • Whitehaven Wine Company • Wither Hills