The Oceania Debate: The Fine Wines of New Zealand and Australia

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Head-to-head encounters in cricket, rugby, hockey and netball have been known to evoke heated exchanges between Aussies and Kiwis.

They are friendly exchanges, typically over a big mug of beer, but they are heated nonetheless.

The sports fans of Australia and New Zealand love their teams, and aren’t about to back down from some pointed banter when the situation calls for it.

There also are cultural differences between the two largest countries of the region often referred to as Oceania, primarily based on the influence of the indigenous Maori population of New Zealand.

And then there is wine — an area in which the competition between Australia and New Zealand is both friendly and serious.

It’s friendly because the people are fun loving. It’s serious because it’s business, and as the old saying goes, “If you want to make a million dollars in the wine business… start with two million.”

The rivalry has become a boon for wine lovers, because it motivates men and women who already are extremely passionate about their craft to push the boundaries of tradition, try new things, and focus on one thing and one thing only: the quality of the finished product in the bottle.

Over time, New Zealand has become known primarily for two varieties: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

Meanwhile, many varieties are grown in Australia’s numerous microclimates, including Syrah. One of the world’s best Syrah-based wines, known as Grange, hails from Down Under.

Which country is making the best wines? That’s a subjective question that only your own palate can answer.

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Posted in Wine Region Profiles

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