New Zealand Wine Regions
New Zealand has several notable wine regions and these are briefly described along with wine guides and accommodation choices. Spread from north to south it is easy to include all or a few of the regions in a New Zealand holiday, each region has more than just wine so equally worth visiting for the wine connoisseur or those just wanting a couple of hours tasting. Whatever your choice we will be pleased to tailor make a custom itinerary to suit you e-mail and let us know your requirements.
This is where the New Zealand wine industry was founded by pioneering settlers from the Mediterranean coast of Croatia over 100 years ago. It is an area steeped in local wine history and features many heritage wineries. Wineries in this region source grapes from their own vineyards in the West Auckland area as well as New Zealand's other grape growing regions. This means they have a wide range of different types of grapes growing in optimum conditions (soil types and climates) from which they produce a wide variety of wine types, this is what we call the "New Zealand wide wine tasting experience".
Waiheke Island is home to a group of award-winning winegrowers
who have successfully matched the unique maritime climate and ancient
soil structures to the selection of classical grape varieties in
order to produce red and white wines with distinctive varietal character.
With a total planted area of just 216 hectares divided among 30
growers, wine production is small and top vintages are keenly awaited
with labels such as Goldwater Estate, Stonyridge Larose, Passage
Rock and Cable Bay
Napier Hawkes Bay
Hawke's Bay is one of New Zealand's largest and oldest established wine growing regions. It is blessed by a warm and sunny climate and a variety of soil types. It is a region ideally suited to the growing of fruit and grapes. Wines have been produced in the Region since the 19th century. Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape variety but the long sunshine hours attract a high percentage of later-ripening red grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah
Martinborough is the capital of the Wairarapa wine region. The region's vineyards tend to be planted on high alluvial terraces. The soils tend to be deep stony and free draining. Climatically the area is similar to Marlborough with low rainfall, high sunshine hours and cool nights. While small in terms of total wine production, Martinborough's and the Wairarapa's boutique wineries have established enviable international reputations for the quality of their wines, especially Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. Pinot Noir is notoriously difficult to make well. The grapes must be extremely ripe when picked, have very high sugar levels, and are best suited to cool climate regions.
Marlborough has an enviable international reputation for producing the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. It also makes very good Chardonnay and Riesling and is fast developing a reputation for Pinot Noir. Of the region's four thousand hectares of grapes (half the national crop), one third are planted in Sauvignon Blanc with the remainder in mainly Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Lots of sun, cool nights, low autumn rains and free draining alluvial soils combine to make the region great. Most wineries can be reached after an easy drive from Blenheim. The town of Blenheim is at the centre of the Marlborough region, and is just 20 minutes south of the magnificent
Nelson is a two hour drive from Marlborough, or a short flight from Wellington. A significant proportion of the region's energy goes into growing, harvesting and eating fresh food and wine. Wineries in the Nelson region are picturesque and many offer the chance to taste wines the way they should be tasted. That is with fresh local cuisine. The vineyards occupy scattered pockets with orchards, market gardens and farms. Soil structure tends to clay loams over hard clay subsoil. Nelson vineyards concentrate on grape varieties suited to cooler conditions, with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir accounting for over 80% of the grapes grown
The Waipara Valley is the fastest growing wine region in New Zealand with around 80 vineyards in the Waipara Valley covering more than 1,200 hectares of plantings. The valley has three general sites, valley floor, hill slopes or river terraces. The soil types include; gravely deposits on flats and terraces in the central and west of the valley, limestone derived clays on hillsides and valley floor to the eastern side and gravely loams over alluvial subsoil in the southern part of the region. The north facing moderately sloping terrain provides an ideal sun trap for fruiting vines. This gives each vineyard unique characters that contribute to a range of wine styles that demand a visit to each winery to fully appreciate Waipara. The “Terroir” combined with the long hot autumn period helps produce unique richer, spicier pinot noirs and Rieslings – regional specialties. Other varieties of note include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Christchurch 40 minutes drive to the south also has several wine makers and vineyards
Queenstown Central Otago
Queenstown Central Otago is the most scenic New Zealand wine region. If you only have time to visit one New Zealand wine region make it Otago. As if to prove a point, leading British wine writer Jancis Robinson MW named Central Otago as one of the top five New World wine producing regions. Central Otago is the world’s southern most wine producing region and New Zealand's only "continental" region. The summers are hot and dry, and the winters crisp and snowy. Soil structures are very different to those of New Zealand's other regions with heavy mineral deposits in silt loams. The conditions are ideal for producing very high quality Pinot Noir and Riesling wines. nearby Wanaka also has several wineries including Rippon the first organic New Zealand