Bucking New Zealand’s Wine Tradition
Scattered across New Zealand’s wine regions are a growing number of Japanese transplants like Hiroyuki Kusuda, 56, whose aim is to prove that these islands can produce some of the finest vintages in the world. Martinborough-based Kusuda (pictured) is one of small but growing contingent of Japanese winemakers upending New Zealand’s reputation for turning out predictable sauvignon blanc, Tom Downey reports for The Wall Street Journal.
With small-scale operations, Japanese vintners are making wines considered idiosyncratic in New Zealand and primarily for an audience in other parts of the world, especially Japan and a few wine-obsessed nations in Europe.
Yoshiaki Sato, 52, of Sato Wines in Central Otago thinks his adopted land has not just the potential for world-class natural wine but also an advantage over Europe.
“It’s just like Burgundy or Alsace here,” Sato says. “We are protected by mountains. We have a quasi-continental climate. But, because we are surrounded by the ocean, the climate isn’t changing here as fast as in Europe.”
Original article by Tom Downey, The Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2023.
Photo by Derek Henderson.