New Zealand old and new

picking red grapes at Elephant Hill in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

There's so much more to New Zealand wine than fly-by-night Sauvignon Blanc. Above, harvest at Elephant Hill in Hawke's Bay (photo by Brian Culy © Elephant Hill).

It seems strange to be writing this introduction just before flying to New Zealand for my first visit there for six years. Despite losing a prime minister and suffering so much rain in a day recently that Auckland airport departure lounge found itself under several feet of water and the airport had to be closed, the country is on a roll in wine terms.

Exports are at record levels, especially to Canada and...