I learned a couple new teinturiers last week from Brandon Ford, Kathleen Thomas, Donovan Ingram, inderpal singh and Melissa Graeff. Thanks all!
This week: Major geographical features of New Zealand
What are they and how do they affect the climate? Is there a difference between the North and South Islands?
Yes, there is a difference between the North and South Islands. The North Island lies roughly on the same latitude as Tasmania--41--with the most northern region Auckland being closer to Jerez in Spain. The North Island is warmer, sees more rain than the South Island, and the climate is comparable to Bordeaux. Although the Southern Island is cooler, the central South Alps Mountain range that runs down the spine of the island creates a rain shadow effect from the moisture-filled air coming off the Atlantic ocean. This gives the grapes abundant sunlight hours as well as cool nights to help maintain bright acidity.
Both of the islands winegrowing regions tend to fall on the eastern coast of the island and the Atlantic Ocean moderates the temperature.
And the regions are protected by the Alps on the West side from harsh weather conditions as well as having a rain shadow effect:
The Tasman Sea to the west is about 1200 miles wide and helps temper the hot air masses coming off of Australia. Oceanic influences are very key obviously with New Zealand being an island however it is interesting to note that there is over 900 miles from the southern tip of NZ to the northernmost point...basically longer than the coastline of California.
New Zealand has the southernmost vineyards in the world to the extent that the earth's axis is tilted in such a way to not only provide more sunlight but bringing this region closer to the sun and thus more intense UV rays. This is essential for ripening and coupled with one of the most dramatic diurnal shifts in the world allows for lush balanced wines coming out of the Central Otago.
Lets dive into that Central Otago vineyards are some of the furthest away from the ocean and the closest thing to a continental climate allowing for snow. Or how about we head to the north island and actually dive into the third island Waiheke. Or Gisborne or Hawkes Bay...New Zealand is an adventure for sure.