Wine. It comes in many different flavours and styles. And from many different countries. But how did something as simple as a grapevine come to spread its way all around the globe?
It all begins in ancient roman times were wine was drank by many people, at about the same rate as drinking water. As such the grapevine was planted wherever they sent their armies. This began to spread the vine and winemaking across western Europe.
But it wasn’t until the middle ages were it began to take off. As the roman empire collapsed, a new power began to rise. This was the church of Christianity. The church held vines in high regard, using them in religious ceremonies and during special events. Practices that are still in place today.
Due to the newfound importance of wine, the church began to become more and more involved with winemaking. Many vineyards were tended to by monks who developed new techniques for winemaking and began to set new standards in how it should be produced. As the church began to expand, vines were planted across europe, in regions like france and germany. Wherever monks and missionaries went, vines were sure to follow.
Eventually, in 1838, wine found its way to New Zealand, by way of French missionaries. The first vineyards were planted in the Hawks Bay region, were the original, Mission Estate, still runs today.
As wine had spread across the globe, many countries were creating their own unique styles of wine. As every area had their wines shaped by their own different climates, soil types and production techniques that meant that no two wines would ever be the same.
These factors all came together into contributing to the localization of wine. Each country is now known for their own distinct tastes that set them apart on the world stage. In New Zealand we have many different regions, all with different climates. The most famous of these is the Marlborough region. With its stony, low vigour soils, and relatively cool climate it has becoume home to some of our best wines that have taken the world by storm.
Nowadays, with importing and exporting being relatively commonplace, many people can enjoy a good wine from France, California, New Zealand and many other corners of the globe. With so much choice, the way we as a society perceive wine. It is no longer a simple drink to have on a daily basis, like it was in Roman times, rather it is valued as something special to enjoy on occasion.
With this change in views on wine, the demand for good quality wine has increased. As such, the current world of importing and exporting wine has changed with it. This places a lot of stress on companies wishing to export their wine overseas. Many different countries have different regulations on how wine can be manufactured. Such factors as having too much SO2 content, or adding extra sugar to juice can have a wine band in another region.
Other factors such as economy, demand, and profitability all contribute to the long list of things to worry about and consider when trying to export your product. In some cases it may seem safer to keep your product local. However, in New Zealand, our wines have reached High levels of acclaim and are well sought after overseas, Putting our industry in a very comfortable position compared to other countries.
Just to put things into perspective, Despite the fact that New Zealand only manufactures about 1% of the total amount of wine produced globally, we are the tenth highest as far as price goes, showing just how much New Zealand wine is valued overseas. We also export more wine than many other countries, as the volume that we export is ranked in the top Eleven.
With New Zealand also having a comfortable market in Britain, and expanding into China, and America, there is little to no reason why any winemaker should not try a gamble at exporting. In fact wine exports were worth around 1.8 billion dollars to the New Zealand economy in 2012. Though exporting can have some risks, the demand for good NZ wine is still growing strong. Also, the free trade agreement between NZ and China signed in 2010 has made it much easier to push wine into China’s expanding market, giving us a promising venture untapt by other markets.
Importing wine and localising it into different regions has had a serious impact on the world of wine, It has changed the way wine is percieved by people, the way we drink it, and what we choose to drink. Wine is no longer a status symbol, or something to chug down, it is a representation of the soil that the vines have grown in, the winds that have blown through them, and the people that craft them. Wine has become such a statement of a countries identity, that such a thing called ‘wine tourism’ exists, people traversing the globe to experience wines from different countries. This scene is also drawing in increasingly younger people aswell. Showing wines influence on worldwide culture is still expanding.
In fact wine is becoming more of an influence on our society more and more. It almost seems to be shaping our perceptions of other countries. But of course, wine has always been a part of our society, it is one of the timeless indulgences that has been with us for a long part of our history, and has been shaped by its movements around the earth. Grapevines are now deeply rooted in many countries, growing under many different conditions and creating, not just an enjoyable beverage, but a trademark for every region it it now calls home.
Localised production versus importation
Localised production versus importation
Christopher Arthur 2013000865
Image source: http://gal2.piclab.us/key/black%20white%20world%20map
What does wine mean
to us now?
Image Source: hotmarketingsolution.com
• Estriecher, S. (2004) Wine, the past 7400 years. Retrieved 16 August 2013 from
• Hall, M. Johnson, G. Cambourne, B. Macionis, N. Mitchell, R. Sharples, L (2000). Wine
Tourism Around the World. PP 25-30, 153. Published by Reed Educational and Professional
• Hembry, O (2012). Wine war: Quality v quantity. Retrieved 2 August 2013 from
• NZ Govt (2010). The Agreement. Retrieved 2 August 2013 from
• Smith, S (2012) New Zealand Wine Annual Report 2012. PP 2-5. Retrieved 16 August 2013
• Hacket, J (2012). Brand NZ: Why Risk Damaging It? Retrieved 2 August 2013 from