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Who Should We Visit In New Zealand?

I've gotten great advice from readers before, and it seems that people have a lot of fun offering up suggestions, so here goes: which wineries should we visit in New Zealand? Ruth and I are headed down there for a couple of weeks at the end of December for a little vacation. We'll spend some time hiking and fly-fishing our way around both the North Island and the South Island, but we will reserve several days for winery visits.

So who should we go see? Remember it's me you're talking to here. I'm not so excited about visiting the Mondavis of New Zealand unless they have a winery building that is so spectacular that even if I were a teetotaler I would want to go just for the view. I'm talking about the small producers, the up-and-coming winemakers, the old school family estates that have been making 2000 cases for the last 30 years, that sort of thing. Heck, if there's someplace you've been dying to find out about and you want me to go there and blog about it, let me know that too.

I'm particularly interested in Central Otago and the Hawkes Bay's Gimblett Gravels district, but I'll take recommendations for anywhere. And of course, if you've got restaurant recommendations, or anything else that we should know before heading down there, we're all ears!

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud