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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Groove Book Report - New Zealand Wine: The Land, the Vines, the People - Warren Moran (Auckland University Press)

Mount Difficulty Pinot Noir and Spy Valley Riesling. Montana Sauvignon Blanc and Cloudy Bay Chardonnay. Though the New Zealand wine industry really began only fifty years ago, vines and winemakers have now spread across the land – from Central Otago to Kumeu, Waipara to Wairarapa – to produce notable wines for New Zealanders and the world.
For half a century, geographer and wine enthusiast Warren Moran has followed the development of the industry, talked to the winemakers and tasted the wines. In this book, he provides an unrivalled introduction to New Zealand wine: the climate, soils, and geography our winemakers work with; the grape varieties they have tried to tame; and the extraordinary personalities, families and companies who have made the wine and the industry. After introducing readers to the history and geography of New Zealand wine, this monumental book takes readers to each of the key winegrowing regions to tell the story of wines and winemakers in Auckland, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, the Wairarapa, Marlborough, Canterbury and Central Otago.
Illustrated with three-dimensional maps of regions and localities and spectacular photographs of the vineyards, the wines, and the winemakers, New Zealand Wine: The Land, the Vines, the People is a must for all of those interested in understanding the extraordinary wines of New Zealand.

Boy, this is such a book.  Way more than just another book about winemakers or vintages.   With topographical maps, detailed histories and personal accounts, this is more like a three dimensional journey into each region.  The stories behind how we end u planting in Central Otago, just beyond Queenstown - places like Chard Farm - are extraordinary.  Some of the stories involve the science of viticulture and some tell of the decisions made through good noses and intuition.  Many of the earliest wine makers were from the Balkan regions, the Yugos and the Germans, who, like the Delegat family saw potential in the soil.  And some were actually almost banished to the northern regions of Auckland, like Kumeu, to try to grow grapes among the apples and stone fruit. The story of Gimlet Gravels is another story of mixing science and intuition.

Moran has worked with a number of wonderful map makers to show just how detailed the soil and climate is under each region and just what makes it special for each.  I'm sure, when you visit a winery they talk up the various local features and what contributes to their particular vintage.  That's what this book does best.  It gives you that insight down to the macrobiotic level.. A book for wine geeks and wine lovers for sure. 

Warren Moran is a geographer and professor emeritus at the University of Auckland. Beginning with his 1958 MA thesis, Moran has published extensively on wine (and rural industries more generally) in New Zealand and overseas. He was co-author of an OUP book Geography: A Study of its Elements. Among other awards, he has been named a distinguished geographer by the New Zealand Geographical Society.

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