Pinot Noir. It’s bigger than Texas in New Zealand’s red wine industry because it accounts for 70% of all the reds made in this country. And next week, the biggest conference ever to be devoted to this wine in the Southern Hemisphere is to be held right here in the windy capital city, Wellington.

The event is called Pinot Noir NZ 2017 and runs from Tuesday 31 January to Thursday 3 February. Organising body New Zealand Winegrowers will host over 90 international wine experts from 20 countries at the event and two other events following immediately afterwards – the Aromatics Symposium in Nelson and Classic Reds in Hawke’s Bay, which finishes off in Martinborough with an extensive tasting of the region’s Pinot Noirs.

“New Zealand may produce less than 1 per cent of the world’s wine but we are attracting serious global attention. The events come at a time when New Zealand wine exports are riding high, exceeding a record $1.6 billion,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

Over 285 million bottles of New Zealand wine were exported to over 90 countries in 2016 and wine is this country’s sixth biggest export item.