If you are a fan of wine then New Zealand is a great country to be touring around. There has been a vast increase in the number of wineries here over the past 20 years and little boutique wineries are scattered all over New Zealand, particularly concentrated in certain regions. New Zealand produces cool climate wines. Many of our vineyards are located near to the sea where they benefit from clear days and high amounts of sunshine hours in the day, followed by a cooling at night time from the sea breezes.
The key wine producing regions are:
Northland: Extremely small, popular for chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon varieties.
Auckland: North west Auckland is the main destination for wineries (Hederson and Kumeu) along with the beautiful Waiheke Island where a ferry ride followed by a winery tour is a very popular outing for locals and visitors to the region.
Bay of Plenty: Wineries are few and far between, although many are well established. Chardonnay is the main variety of grape grown here.
Hawkes Bay & Gisborne: Parts of the Hawkes Bay are laden with vineyards. In particular around the Hastings area. A drive up to the top of Te Mata peak will provide expansive views of the vineyards in the region. It is the second largest region for wine production and Chardonnay and Cabernet Merlot varieties make up around 50% of wine produced.
Martinborough: The Wairarapa has a concentration of vineyards around the pretty township of Martinborough. Pinot Noir is the most popular wine produced here. It makes for a great weekend or day trip from nearby Wellington.
Nelson: Nelson has a small number of wineries running up in to the Moutere Hills. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are popular wines on offer.
Marlborough: This is the wine making capital of New Zealand, with the Sauvignon Blanc produced here recognised and consumed around the world. Drive out of Blenheim and you will encounter vines within seconds.
Canterbury: Waipara just North of Christchurch and in areas around Lincoln are where you will encounter some boutique wineries. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are two common varietals of wine produced here.
Central Otago: This is the world’s most Southern located wine making region and famous for its cool climate Pinot Noir. The location of vines amongst the stunning scenery of the Wanaka/Queenstown Lakes region make for some scenic drives and dining.
Visitor information centres in each region will often be able to provide you with a winery map so you can easily navigate your way to wineries.