Christchurch to host Pinot Noir NZ in 2021

Christchurch, still reeling from a terrorist attack in March, has had some good news - it's been chosen to host the next Pinot Noir NZ, one of the most exuberant wine events in the world.

Canterbury, Mt Beautiful/NZ Winegrowers
Canterbury, Mt Beautiful/NZ Winegrowers

Pinot Noir New Zealand, the four-yearly celebration of all things Pinot, heads to Christchurch for the first time, in 2021.

“We are delighted to have secured this event for our city, and we welcome with open arms the world’s wine community,” Loren Heaphy, ChristchurchNZ’s general manager of destination and attraction, said in a statement. “Christchurch sits at the heart of the South island, which produces some of the best wine in the world, and we are looking forward to showcasing our region to international wine influencers and sommeliers.”

Christchurch, a city of approximately 400,000 inhabitants, sits on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island and is the gateway to both the Canterbury wine region and to Antarctica. A pretty city that’s English in feel, it is known for its parks and nature.

It’s also, unfortunately, known for the terrorist attack on two mosques that took place on 15 March 2019 and which killed 50 people. New Zealand’s wine producers who attended ProWein only a few days later were still clearly shaken by the event and held a minute’s silence on their stand.

The city has also not completely recovered from the devastating 2011 earthquake, which killed 185 people. Today, some buildings in the city centre remain boarded up, or show dramatic cracks.

However, Pinot Noir NZ is one of the wine world’s most exuberant wine celebrations, and will no doubt bring a dose of optimism to the city.

“The event’s also about having fun,” said Pinot Noir 2021’s co-chair, Penelope Nash of Black Estate. “It’s time to celebrate the true greatness of New Zealand Pinot Noir, and showcase New Zealand’s incredible food, entertainment and people.”

Pinot Noir 2021 co-chair Helen Masters, winemaker at Ata Rangi and NZ Winemaker of the Year 2019, says, “the New Zealand wine industry is becoming mature and confident, comfortable about who we are and how we talk about ourselves. New Zealand’s continual innovation in grape growing, winemaking and industry-wide sustainability attracts great interest on the world stage.”

The committee are planning a celebration that includes the whole city, with events that will bring locals, visitors and the wine world together to enjoy Pinot Noir.

“The committee considered a number of venues for Pinot Noir 2021, but Christchurch really stood out for its energy and collaborative approach. Following the appalling terrorist attack in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March, we’re even more committed to showing our support for the city.”

Pinot Noir NZ was established in 2001 to showcase everything unique about the country’s Pinot expression. Pinot Noir 2021 will be the sixth Pinot Noir NZ gathering, and marks the 20thanniversary of the organization. The scale and scope of the event has grown steadily, from 100 wines at the inaugural event, to more than 600 wines shown to 500 influential international visitors.

New Zealand wine is exported to more than 90 countries, with total exports reaching NZ$1.7bn ($1.14bn) in 2018.
Felicity Carter

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