Silver Fern and the land it comes from
Silver Fern – Icon of New Zealand
The silver fern symbol has been used to represent New Zealand for over a century. The inspiration is the silver fern plant (Cythea dealbata), or ponga in the local Maori language. These beautiful ferns are only found in New Zealand.
The silver fern plant can grow to a height of 10 metres, with fronds that can grow up to four metres long. The plant gets its name from the distinctive silvery white colour on the undersides of the fronds.
A stylised representation of the fern frond was first trademarked in 1885. In the Boer War (1899-1902) the emblem was used to identify New Zealand’s fighting forces. The silver fern now appears on the New Zealand coat of arms and identifies many of the country’s sports teams, including the All Black rugby team. There are frequent calls for a new design for the national flag that features the silver fern.
For us it is an honour to have the silver fern symbol on our wine. It comes with a responsibility that our wine has to be representative of the very best in New Zealand. It is an obligation we humbly accept.
Wine from the land of the silver fern
New Zealand wine is instantly recognisable for its pure, intense flavours. This is the result of the particular climate and soils in our country.
For one thing, the country is at the cool end of the winemaking spectrum. But during the growing season, our winemaking areas enjoy bright, warm sunshine. These days are typically followed by chilly nights that slow down ripening and lock in flavour development and a characteristic zingy acidity in our white varieties.
The truth about the lie of the land
New Zealand has two main islands that stretch 1,600km from north to south, at similar distances from the equator as Italy or California. While we get strong sunlight like our northern counterparts, the cooling influence of the surrounding cold ocean changes the character of our wines.
New Zealand is never more than 240km wide, so no vineyard is all that far from the sea. Apart from Central Otago near the bottom of the South Island, all the major winegrowing areas are on sheltered plains along the east coast, where maritime influences are strong.
Most recognised wines
In the 19th Century, many of the earliest European settlers in New Zealand planted grapes. However, it was only in the late 1970s, after the development of Marlborough as a wine region, that New Zealand wine captured international attention.
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc led the way, but over time our country also produced other outstanding aromatic white wines, plus world-class Pinot Noir.