Zealand has ten main wine growing regions, each
displaying a great diversity in climate and terrain.
Differences in climate may be illustrated by the
variation in the harvesting date of Chardonnay.
warmer and more humid northern regions of Northland,
Auckland and Gisborne, Chardonnay might begin
be harvested in late February or early March while
in Central Otago, the world's most southerly Chardonnay
grapes may first be picked in mid to late April
- a difference of 6-7 weeks.
Map Courtesy of New Zealand Winegrowers.
Auckland is home to New Zealand's biggest wine companies and tiny boutique vineyards. New Zealand's oldest wine region, it is vastly spread and diverse and produces some particularly fine fine wines - intense reds, world class Chardonnays and fine aromatics. The region includes Auckland's picturesque island, Waiheke. Dotted with vineyards and fringed by charming beaches; this island is renowed for its Bordeaux-blends and has been named one of the best islands in the world. In western Auckland are the subregions of Henderson, Kumeu and Waimauke where vineyards are scattered close to the wild, beautiful beaches of the west coast and green lush forests. To the north of the city in the rolling hills of Matakana, journey into a region with world-class wineries, stylish dining and unique art experiences.
Hawkes Bay is New Zealand's second largest wine region, established well over 100 years ago and known for its Bordeaux-blend reds and Chardonnay, as well as consistently good aromatic whites and increasingly impressive Syrahs. More than anywhere else in New Zealand, the sunny and brilliant region lives up to the French ideal of wine. Hawkes Bay is home to the country's best and original farmers market where you can pick up various treats. Diverse soil types give a variety of wine types give a variety of wine types in the region around the art-deco city of Napier. Varied soil types provide a variety of wine types in the wide-spread region around the art-deco city of Napier. With its long history of wine production and productive landscape, Hawkes Bay is home to a busy tourism culture and offers an abundant variety of cellar door experiences in close proximity making the region perfect for its well known food and wine festivals.
At the southern end of the North Island, the main districts are the Greater Wairarapa and the boutique center of Martinborough, both being a short and senic drive from New Zealand's capital, Wellington. Martinborough has a central square lined with restaurants and wine bars and is known for being distinctively boutique, with wines that are internationally acclaimed for their intensity of flavor. A popular stop on the NZ wine trail, Martinborough has over 20 wineries within close proximity of the central square - visitors can walk, bike or drive the short distances between and make the most of the Martinborough Wine Village. A range of styles are on offer with divine Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc as well as polished Chardonney, Syrah and dessert wines.
Vines were first planted here, around the small town of Blenheim, in the north of the South Island, in the 1970s. The region has quickly grown to be New Zealand's largest wine region, producing distinctive wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc, and more recently Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines as well as Pinot Noir and Riesling. The Marlborough region has put New Zealand on the international wine map and the combination of a cool yet sunny climate, low rainfall and fertile soil produces bold wines of many styles. This fast growing wine region showcases row upon row of vines across the Wairau and Awatere Valley, making them the most planted regions in the country with breathtaking scenery, you will want to see this region with your own eyes.
The sunny and beautiful region of Nelson is a must for any wine enthusiast, with its sun-drenched climate and amazing landscape, not to mention excellent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as aromatics and an eclectic mix of other varieties. The sun not only provides perfect conditions for the laidback lifestyle of locals but also allows the crops to ripen fully throughout the region's extended autumn. Nelson has a vibrant artistic and cafe culture with many of the wineries offering both experiences at their cellar doors. A region not to miss, with inspired wines, pristine beaches and everlasting sunshine.
The region has two main wine areas - Waipara just north of Christchurch and the Plains surrounding the city - and is New Zealand's fourth largest wine region, producing Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay, amongst other varieties. Spanning nearly 200 kms of the South Island's eastern coastline, with the beautiful Southern Alps to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, vineyards are planted from Waimata in the south to Cheviot in the north. The area also includes Banks Peninsula and Waipara Valley; Canterbury wine offers a diverse range of styles and producers plus many attractive cellar doors. The cool and dry climate with the sunshine makes a perfect combination for producing intense flavors and richness.
With the main town of Queenstown, Central Otago is the world's most southerly wine region - and New Zealand's highest - one slogan being 'wines with altitude'! The region shares unique geographical and climate conditions with some of the world's most esteemed wine producing regions and is home to some of the world's best Pinot Noir and a range of vivid white wines. With a spectactular landscape and vibrant tourist culture, this region draws visitors from far and wide. The main sub-regions lie within close proximity of the snow-capped mountains and clear rivers, and offer amazing cellar door facilities and wine tours. The Cromwell basin accounts for 70% of the region's vineyards with others scattered through areas such as Gibbston and Wanaka.