Though Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc continues its global popularity – sales grew nearly 29 per cent last year – New Zealand winemakers seek a new viticulture challenge. This challenge is Pinot Noir. The winemakers’ excitement about Pinot Noir is the converse of their boredom with Sauvignon Blanc. Careful control of yields, and not heavy growth, brings out the grape’s best. Humans, not machines, have to harvest the delicate fruit. Oak, not stainless steel, helps the wine. However meanwhile, the US market still savours Marlborough’s best: “Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t order Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, and interest and demand has remained consistent,” says Ken Wagstaff, wine buyer and sommelier at San Francisco’s Aqua restaurant.