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Gruner Veltliner could be next NZ Sauvignon, say winemakers

Grüner Veltliner could be the new Sauvignon Blanc of the future, a New Zealand winemaker has claimed.

The white varietal in its Austrian version has a dedicated following among wine cognoscenti in the UK, but is relatively unknown among the wider public.

John Forrest of Forrest Estate in Marlborough told Decanter.com: ‘I would go so far as to say that we may do to Grüner what we did to Sauvignon Blanc 30 years ago. I’m excited by what I’ve tasted to date.’

The native white Austrian grape is also thought to be destined for great things by David Cox, UK & Europe director of New Zealand Winegrowers, who has described Grüner as ‘the way forward’ for the country.

Although plantings of the variety are still limited in the country, Grüner production is especially gaining ground in the south island, where the cooler conditions are thought to be favourable.

‘We grabbed the opportunity as soon as these grapevines became available. We are expanding our area under vine and we have just started exporting some to the UK,’ Heidi Seifried of Seifried in Nelson said.

There should be good demand for New Zealand Grüner in the UK, with importers reporting selling out.

David Gleave MW of Liberty Wines said his company lists three New Zealand Grüner Veltliners, one of which has sold out, and another of which only arrives in the UK this week.

Gleave said: ‘We have seen great interest in the wines from a number of top end UK restaurants as they are great food wines, and the aromatic dimension will make it sufficiently distinctive from Austrian Grüner Veltliners.’

Written by Jane Parkinson

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