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Norfolk Island Wine

Norfolk Island is a tiny island located in the Pacific Ocean, located almost exactly half-way between New Caledonia and the northern tip of New Zealand. Although technically part of the Commonwealth of Australia, (Sydney lies 1050 miles / 1700km to the south-west), the island has a high level of self-governance.

The flag of Norfolk Island

The island’s one and only winery – Two Chimneys Wines – planted its first vines in 2003. Their portfolio now includes wines made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Durif, Sangiovese and of course the Australian favorite, Shiraz. The Two Chimneys Shiraz is described as 'luscious' and 'mouth-filling', with aromas of cassis, raspberry, aniseed, chocolate and vanilla, with a 'persuasive tannin spine'. The white wines are produced from Chardonnay, Semillon, Verdelho and Sauvignon Blanc. These tend towards the tropical end of the aroma spectrum: notes of melon and peach are predominant in the Chardonnay, while the Semillon/Sauvignon blend offers generous notes of citrus zest and passionfruit.

Tourism is the key industry on Norfolk Island, complemented by primary agriculture: fruit, vegetables, beef and of course, wine. The island's prohibition of imported fresh fruit and vegetables means it produces a large percentage of its food requirements. The grape vine, and almost all other agricultural crops now grown on the island, have been introduced by settlers. Prior to European colonization most of the island was covered with subtropical rainforest, made up largely of Araucaria heterophylla – the Norfolk Island Pine which has become the island's emblem and figures on its flag.

Norfolk Island's climate is classified as 'marine subtropical' on the Koppen climate classification scale. Thanks to the vast expanses of ocean (the western Pacific) which surround the island, winter temperatures rarely fall below 50°F (10°C) and the summertime average temperature is 77 °F (25°C). The highest temperature ever recorded was only a few degrees higher than this. Rainfall is relatively high (50 inches / 1,270mm annually) and although concentrated mostly in the winter months between April and August, heavy rainfall can occurs sporadically throughout the year.

The island measures just a few miles from side to side, and has a total population of just over 2,000. Most inhabitants are of European ancestry, but many can trace their genetic roots back to the island of Tahiti; a number are descendants of the 'Bounty' mutineers (i.e. Mutiny on the Bounty). English is the official language, but some inhabitants still also speak 'Norfuk', a creole blend of 18th-Century English and Tahitian.

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