Wine-drinkers are more likely to pick pinot noir from the shelf than sauvignon blanc, a survey shows.
A Herald-DigiPoll survey showed that slightly more New Zealanders (31.3 per cent) chose red wines over white (30.1 per cent).
Red wine's popularity is likely to be due to the marked increase in pinot noir drinkers. As New Zealand pinot noir gathers international acclaim, local demand for it has stepped up, resulting in cheaper bottles on the shelves.
Wine commentators say New Zealanders' move to pinot noir was a natural progression, which showed a more mature local market and palate. Men were especially attracted to red wine, and were twice as likely as women to choose it.
In the white wine market, traditional favourite chardonnay has been overtaken by sauvignon blanc in popularity.
The poll showed 33.9 per cent of white wine drinkers chose sauvignon blanc, while 25.5 per cent chose chardonnay.
In his most recent book, wine writer Michael Cooper said sauvignon blanc eclipsed chardonnay in popularity when discounted brands came on the market. The introduction of $10 sauvignon blanc gave people a cheap and fashionable option.
He said that with wine on supermarket shelves, women had taken over the job of buying wines and generally preferred fresh, fruity wines like sauvignon blanc.
A quarter of New Zealanders said they did not drink wine at all.