A few years ago, I took the plunge to travel down under to Australia’s friendly neighbor to the east, New Zealand. Not just for the majestic sounds, sun-soaked beaches and snow-capped mountains, but for the wine. (I’m glad we can be honest with other each.)
It was the explosive citrus. The fresh-cut grass, the exotic fruit tones (Is that guava I taste?) mixing with a tolerable minerality. It was that crisp, zesty zing--like biting into a juicy grapefruit--that seduced me to fork out some serious airfare for this trip. It was Sauvignon Blanc. And I was in love. Much like the movie Sideways searched for the perfect Pinot, I was determined to sip every Sav Blanc I could get my little hands on. (Okay, so they’re more like “man-hands” if we’re still being honest.)
Most Americans, myself included, usually think of Marlborough as the main—maybe only—wine-producing area in New Zealand. There are quite a few wine areas that spread over New Zealand’s north and south island according to New Zealand wine growers, the national organization of New Zealand’s grape and wine sector:
“New Zealand extends 1,600km (1000 miles) from sub-tropical Northland (36° S) to the world’s most southerly grape growing region Central Otago (46° S). Vineyards benefit from the moderating effect of the maritime climate (no vineyard is more than 120km, or 80 miles, from the ocean) with long sunshine hours and nights cooled by sea breezes.”
My friends and I decided we wanted to conquer both the north and south islands in the only acceptable, touristy-way possible—in a campervan. I was the solo wine-guzzler in the group, so I made sure we put Martinborough and Hawkes Bay (North Island), Marlborough, Nelson and Canterbury on our itinerary. Time for a quick pro-tip here, most people think traveling with non-winos is a bore, but I love it. Why? Well, built-in designated drivers=more wine for me.
We headed north from Wellington in a bright orange campervan with a tipsy tourist (me) tossing around in the “kitchen area/sleeping quarters” while two non-wine drinkers navigated the curvy and mountainous roads towards Hobbiton—a tourist trap compromise to balance out my winery stops. With some chilled Sav Blancs from the budget grocery store and a bag of “Kiwi As” chips what could possibly go wrong?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Orignally from Missouri, Katie has lived in Switzerland, Chicago, San Francisco. Brooklyn and Arizona-and prefers to live in close proximity to old vines. Her first job in college was pouring wines and pruning wines at a winery in Augusta, Missouri which was the first designated AVA in American. Since then, Katie has spend several years working in corporate America as a copywriter and content marketer. She now works for herself because "her boss" adheres to a strict unlimited winery vacation policy. Follow her tasting and travel notes: @eieigel.