Wine drinkers gather in Marlborough

  • 01/02/2016
Wine drinkers gather in Marlborough

The sauvignon wine variety is being celebrated at an inaugural event in Marlborough.

The International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration is the largest sauvignon blanc event ever held in New Zealand and promises attendees an in-depth look at the variety, organisers say.

Twenty guests from as far afield as Canada, the US, France, UK, and China will be speaking at the event, sharing their knowledge with more than 350 delegates from 18 countries.

"Of the A-list of people we asked to speak, we had only one person who couldn't make it," says Patrick Materman, chairman of the organising committee.

Speakers include David Gleave, founder of Liberty Wines in the UK, Jancis Robinson's assistant Julia Harding, and New Zealanders Sam Harrop, Alastair Maling and Jane Skilton.

Alexandre Schmitt, known in the wine world as "the nose", US-based wine commentator Matt Kramer and Leslie Sbrocco, recently voted as one of the Top 100 most influential people in the American wine business, are also attending.

A session on the science of sauvignon blanc will be headed by UK writer Jamie Goode, and frequent BBC host Oz Clarke will be at a session on how region defines style.

New Zealand's wine industry had been struggling with a glut of supply but a report by Deloitte last week said the industry is on a sound footing and is showing solid results.

The 2015 harvest produced 326,000 tonnes of grapes, down 27 percent from the peak of the consecutive record volumes of 2014 and 2013.

"This year's lower harvest likely comes as a relief for some in the industry after the efforts of dealing with the increased supply from the record volumes of prior harvests," Deloitte partner Peter Felstead said.