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Thursday 24 December 2015

A new wine event for 2016: A celebration of sauvignon blanc

For many hipsters sauvignon blanc is a vinous Satan; despised for its freshness and vibrancy - and the fact that so many people have genuinely good time drinking it.

They'll drink Sancerre, of course, and Pouilly Fumé, as if they don't count as sauvignon blanc because they are French.

And they'll drink barrel-fermented biodynamically grown Australian sauvignon blanc made using indigenous yeasts, minimal intervention and no sulphur.

What really gets their goat is New Zealand sauvignon blanc, primarily from Marlborough; brisk, herbaceous and refreshing. 

The fact is the naysayers are in a minority; a very small minority. Most Australians love Kiwi sauvignon blanc, drinking more of it than any Australian white wine style.

The Kiwi winery that started the craze, Cloudy Bay, this year celebrated the 30th anniversary of the wine that changed global drinking habits. The first Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc was released in 1985.

And now, 30 years on, New Zealand’s most popular wine export, will be celebrated in style at the first ever International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration, to be held in Marlborough from February 1-3.

The all-but sold-out event is attracting over 300 producers, writers and wine experts from around the world.

Attendees will have an opportunity to take part in tasting and discussion sessions, as well as taking a journey through diverse regional styles, and the range of winemaking techniques that are used to produce the wine. 

Luminaries attending include Robert Joseph, Matt Kramer, Jane Skilton and Jamie Goode, along with star winemakers like Sam Harrop and Patrick Materman.

Sauvignon blanc grapes were first planted in Marlborough in 1975, at what is now Brancott Estate. Since then, the variety has ballooned in popularity and now makes up 70 percent of New Zealand’s overall wine production.

From humble beginnings, New Zealand sauvignon blanc is now a $1.1 billion dollar export earner for the country.

The Celebration will focus on the diversity of sauvignon blanc styles being produced in the eight countries represented. During the event guests will be treated to a showcase of New Zealand and international sauvignon blanc, some Marlborough scenery and a smorgasbord of locally sourced food.

It sounds like fun. And I will report back.

For details visit