Safeguarding the reputation of New Zealand’s biggest wine region is the aim of a new group that launched in June calling itself Appellation Marlborough Wine (AMW).
The group aims to protect the authenticity of wine made in Marlborough, one of the world’s biggest Sauvignon Blanc regions – Marlborough has 25,135 hectares of grapes which is 67.7% of this country’s total.
The vast majority of grapes in Marlborough are Sauvignon Blanc, which contrasts closely with France; the world’s biggest producer of Sauvignon Blanc with approximately 26,800 hectares planted nationwide, mostly in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux.
The new Appellation Marlborough Wine group has taken many cues from France’s appellation system, which legally defines geographic borders and other criteria of specific wine regions, including certain specific grape growing and winemaker methods (which differ between regions) as well as harvest guidelines and where the wine can be bottled.
The new AMW group is an incorporated society and has so far attracted 36 of the region’s 139 wine producers to adhere to its stipulations. Another 10 wine producers have also expressed interest.
These include using 100% locally grown grapes, which must be grown as part of a recognised sustainable viticultural (grape growing) programme.
The aim is to attract as many wine producers as possible and to safeguard Marlborough’s wine reputation, says AMW chair Ivan Sutherland, who was one of the first to plant grapes in the region’s modern wine history and is also a founder and co-owner of Dog Point Vineyards.
All Appellation Marlborough Wine must also be bottled in New Zealand.