The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 1890 WINE-GROWING IN NEW ZEALAND.
There is no reason whatever why the growing of grapes and the manufacture of wine should should not become an extensive industry in New Zealand, the soil and climate of the North Island being admirably adapted to viticulture, greatly resembling that of pai'ts of France and Spain, two of the greatest wine-growing countries of the old world. Even as far south as Wanganui the manufacture of wines from locally-grown grapes is carried on successfully, the vineyard of Mr Soler, which has been many years established and whose wines are well-known in the market, being one of the show places of that town of remarkable things and remarkable people. Tn Hawkes Bay, too, wines of excellent quality are produced, samples sent to the recent Paris Exhibition having been very favorably reported upon. But in all probability the principal seat of the wine-growing industry of the future, so far as New Zealand is concerned, will be found in the province of Auckland, in all parts of which the vinethrivesluxuriantly,and where fairly good wines have been from time to time produced. The reason that this industry has not ere this achieved a more prominent position is explained by the " New Zealand Herald" as consisting in the fact that while "many have made trials at the industry, but few or none have had the necessary knowledge, combined with practical experience, and the requisite capital to carry the industry over the first difficulties to be encountered." The same paper, however, goes on to give an interesting account of the operations now carried on, upon a somewhat extensive scale, by a gentleman who is described as " the most successful winemaker in Auckland " —Mr J. Wendell, of Symonds street. Mr Wendell, we learn, "is a native of the Moselle district in France, and has been in Auckland upwards of 16 years, He began by purchasing grapes from growers, and planting some Tines in an allotment in wey street, in 1874, and the wine made that year was analysed by Mr Tunny, then Provincial Analyst, in 1875, and reported on very favorably. For a few years Mr Wendell grew some of the grapes he used, but for a number of years past he has resided in Symonds street, where all the wines he has made has been from grapes purchased from several growers in different parts of the Auckland province. , . , Up has established a regular trade, and finds customers for his wines in all parts of the colony. He has been a successful competitor at all the recent exhibitions on this, side of the equator, and tal^es pride in producing a wine of even, uniform quality, He produces, o : s, a rule, two classes, a light and a darkcolored wine. Occasionally some
sparkling wine is manufactured, but
hioherto the sale for this has not been very largo. He informs us that a very
large number of churches obtain from liini the wine used for sacramental purposes. During the pj>esent s,easpn he has purchased over 12 tons of grapes in varying quantities, and the price goneralfy paid lias been 2d per lb, but ho has no knowledge of the yield of grapes per acre. The sums paid to the different growers have varied greatly from a few shillings to £25 iii one case. TJie gropes have been sent to him from many places— from B/ig'in and Tauranga in the south to Holdanga in the north. From these grapes he has prepared 38 casks of wine, each of a capacity of from 30 £0 3(5 gallons. He has in his cellar over iijO .ojtsjfß of 3G gallons each, of wine maturing, hOiujs three years old, some two years, and some las£ year's production. The trade is not large, but it is as much as Mr Wendell can manage alone, sfiv§ some assistance he obtains from his family. On several occasions he has tried to obtain help during the busy vintage season, but the temptation' to imniqclorfttely partake of the stores in the cellar without permission has apparently been greater than the hired workers could resist, so hired labor is dispensed with." The foregoing will suffice to show that the manufacture of wines from New Zealeand grown grapes is i\o% pnly a possible industry of the future but' one which k capable of being developed to very considerable dimensions —indeed v/e see no reason why the polony should not t)e independent of the rest of the world for its (supply of light wines, and those of a quality not nppessarily inferior to those of Australia..