All too often do people in NZ dismiss California (or all of the USA) when it comes to wine. I have never really understood this phenomena. Is it Trump? Is is jealousy? Is it lack of education? Had they tried an awful wine in the past and are just now assuming that all wines from there are terrible?
I am not sure but my money is on the last one (and recently the first...). I have found this time immemorial in New Zealand, which is a real shame because in my opinion, which is a fairly informed one, the USA are producing some of the most exciting wines in the world at the moment. They offer fruit-ripeness, great structure, balance, point of difference, and a host of grapes and styles to dive in to.
Look at California - you have a plethora of top notch Chardonnay (everything from un-oaked and crisp to buttery gems), silky Pinot Noirs (some of the best in the New World - often representing great value when compared to Kiwi Pinot), juicy Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignons. Then there are all the interesting grapes from boutique producers like Nebbiolo and Syrah and Viognier and Aligote and Pinot Blanc....and you get the idea.
Oregon is the state of Burgundian-styled Pinot Noir as well as crisp Chardonnays.
Washington is the golden boy of ripe, fruit-forward anything and everything.
New York is the Riesling and aromatic-white wine capital as well as being one of the most experimental winemaking states of them all.
So between those 4 states, you have an abundance of styles to taste. The wines start off from about $30(ish) and go up. And honestly, as I mentioned before, they actually offer really good value compared to wines made in NZ or imported from other well-known countries like Spain, Italy, or France.
As wine lovers you owe it to yourself to try new and exciting wines. We don't sell wines that are bad - as life is too short (and we'd go out of business pretty quickly if we did!). So go on - try something new! You'll be kicking yourself for only getting in on the secret now.