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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register. If I were to say “New Zealand wine,” it is likely that the first thing you would think of is sauvignon blanc from Marlborough.

After all, sauvignon blanc is New Zealand’s most widely planted varietal. It makes up 72 percent of the wine production of New Zealand, according to the 2014 New Zealand Winegrowers’ Annual Report. There are more than 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) planted to sauvignon blanc with more than 17,000 of those hectares in Marlborough.

If I were to then ask you how to describe New Zealand sauvignon blanc, I am sure some of the following descriptors come to mind – grassy, gooseberry, bell pepper, grapefruit, lime or even cat’s pee. New Zealand sauvignon blanc is recognizable in a glass by its pungent aromas and bold acidity on the palate.

But not all sauvignon blanc from New Zealand is one-dimensional and predictable. Giesen Wines is on a mission to change the dialogue of New Zealand sauvignon blanc and elevate the status.


Giesen Wines is a family brand owned by three German brothers, Theo, Alex and Marcel. They were first drawn to the cool climate of the South Island in New Zealand more than thirty years ago. They planted their first vineyard in 1981 and produced their first wine in 1984.