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A Trans-pacific View of Kiwi Wine

You can never revisit the past, but sometimes all you have to do is travel a little bit to be reminded of where you’ve been.

I’ve just spent the past three weeks in New Zealand attending three of the country’s major wine conferences, the Hawke’s Bay Symposium, the New Zealand Pinot Noir conference in Wellington, and the Nelson Aromatics Symposium. These events were opportunities to check in on the state of Kiwi wine and how it might have changed in the eight years since I last visited, but they also provided cause for some reflection on how wine industries evolve and come of age.

Here in America we’ve largely forgotten that we once had something to prove when it comes to our wines. The burgeoning but obscure wine roads in many of America’s lesser-known states notwithstanding, few Americans question the ability of a bottle made in the USA to hold its own on the world stage. California in particular has long since stopped trying to compare itself to the rest of the world as its primary method of validating quality and relevance.

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This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is available only to subscribers of her web site. If you’re not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It’s only £6.99 a month or £69 per year ($11/mo or $109 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.