The Oenophiliac

Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.

Marlborough needs appellation system, says Forrest

Marlborough growers need an appellation system with strict controls on production levels to avoid losing quality and reputation, according to a leading producer.


Marlborough: ‘loss in quality’?

John Forrest, owner of Forrest Wines in Marlborough, New Zealand, told he would be campaigning over the next year to encourage local producers to introduce a ‘self-enforced appellation system’.

‘Bulk production, combined with the excessive harvest of 2009 and a subsequent loss in quality has become an issue in Marlborough over the last five years’, he said.

‘My goal, and legacy to the wine industry, is to establish a quality-conscious syndicate of producers, with strict controls over yield and quality.’

The organisation, which Forrest hopes will be operational by 2013, would be modelled on the French Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) system. Membership would be voluntary and members would contribute financially.

Wine critic Oz Clarke said that he shared some of Dr Forrest’s concerns about a drop in quality in New Zealand’s most famous region, in particular the Sauvignon Blanc wines from the 2008/09 vintages.

‘Marlborough producers released some absolute rubbish from those vintages and should be ashamed of themselves,’ he said.

Sam Lockyer, Forrest Wines’ UK brand manager, said that he believed membership of the proposed syndicate would give wineries a ‘powerful marketing tool on their labels and an assurance to consumers that they can expect a certain level of quality from the wines they purchase.’

  • Early indications for the 2012 harvest suggest the high crop levels of 2008/09 will not be repeated, with a significant fall in volume predicted by David Cox, European director of New Zealand Wine Growers. ‘Marlborough (and Nelson) have experienced some cool temperatures and heavy rains during flowering and so many growers are predicting that this may result a 20-25% fall in tonnage in those two regions,’ New Zealand Wine Growers will be publishing a pre-vintage survey on 20 February 2012.

Story by James Lawrence

Courtesy of Decanter


Not to blow my own trumpet, but I will, I was talking about this last year with Jayson Bryant, New Zealand wine expert and social media strategist. Quality isn’t the only issue here. The sheer glut of Kiwi wine available will eventually destroy the New Zealand wine market. It has almost happened in Australia, over production.

Let us just hope that other New Zealand wineries take this on board and support John Forrest. The natives may even end up going back to buying their own product, at reasonable prices too.

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This entry was posted on February 9, 2012 by in News. and tagged , , , , , .

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