22 MAY 2019: The Land of the Kiwi is having its moment. Over 25 winery members from the New Zealand Wine Growers uncapped bottles of their finest vintages in a soiree of New Zealand wine aficionados. Held at The Globe and Mail Centre, a sold-out crowd of oenophiles attended Pure Discovery 2019, a triple threat of New Zealand wine events scheduled in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa to offer the latest labels, with some verging on the obscure with names that could make you smile.

Ever heard of Mud House Wines, Craggy Range, Lighter Wines or Cloudy Bay?

Big NZ Wine Sustainability
Andrea Backstrom, one of the event organizers from New Zealand Winegrowers, told Travel Industry Today, that, “Ninety-seven percent of wines from New Zealand are sustainable,” she said with a nod to green practices.

The organization reports how wineries are committed to producing award-winning wines that reflect the landscape and climate. “Sustainability is considered as key to the on-going success of the industry as it preserves the quality of New Zealand’s natural resources,” states a release from Tourism New Zealand.

Getting there
When is a good time to visit? Try now. Reps from Air New Zealand who were at the event say winter is just around the corner in New Zealand, which means off-season. “It's a great time to go down. It's a quieter destination not as busy,” says Air New Zealand's Brian Jobling. The national flag carrier has direct Vancouver-Auckland service among other direct service routes.

NZ Insider Tip
For wine tips and New Zealand touring advice I turned to Phillip Crawley, the CEO and publisher of The Globe and Mail who also serves as New Zealand's Honorary Consul in Toronto.  “I would go to Hawke's Bay in the North Island. Hawke's Bay has so many well established wineries there,” says Crawley on the rich range of vineyards in this postage-stamp sized area.

The vineyards were created there, he adds, in the thirties when there was an earthquake that destroyed the town. “The land rose up and became the vineyards. There is a beautiful Art Deco city built in the 1930s called Napier. It's like stepping back in time. You are surrounded by really good vineyards.”  To boot, Hawke's Bay is the oldest wine region in New Zealand.

Sounds like a plan.

Backstrom invites Canadian clientele to consider a visit to the North Island, home of wine producing Hawke's Bay followed by a quick flight to the South Island, a Sauvignon Blanc rich isle which is home to Marlborough, North Canterbury and Central Otago as vineyard teasers.

In the 10 major wine-producing regions you're guaranteed to come across an eco-friendly vintner.

Here is a pair of Kiwi sustainable wineries:

Loveblock Vintners Erica Crawford, vintner extraordinaire and the other half of “the” Kim Crawford Wines and son Rory Crawford have delved into a new wine venture, creating this boutique winery.

Located on South Island outside Blenheim the winery is perched on a hill overlooking a valley known as the Awatere Valley suitable for wine-growing.

Sustainability is evident by the crops like poppies and dandelions that Rory says add to the soil health plus the Black Angus cattle grazing. “It's purely just to keep the grass down and is good for the soil,” he smiles describing the roughly 200 cows as he pours a sample of their Sauvignon Blanc, Loveblock's number one best-seller.

Surprisingly clean mellow notes of light fruity proportions are unleashed.

“We don't produce big volumes,” adds Erica. Loveblockwine.com 

Cloudy Bay Aged in oak, experience more stone fruit flavours with a tropical taste that is capped off with a citrus finish. “It's a small release in select stores that is not readily available,” notes Cloudy Bay wine rep Natalie Piecka, on the limited release. The Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 is very clean indeed.

The Marlborough-based winery's other label that was catching a lot of attention from the 400 wine attendees was Cloudy Bay's flagship wine, the $32 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2018 white wine crowd pleaser. Cloudybay.co.nz  

The evening which was held in partnership with the New Zealand High Commission and the New Zealand Consulate General included this year's charity partners, the Easter Seals BC and Friends of We Care.

Pure Discovery 2019 had fabulous wines, great food, and entertainment featuring Haka dancers from the Te Tini a Maui Kapa Haka group.

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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