New Zealand is famous for its beautiful scenery; with rolling fields and areas of agriculture, to soaring mountains, stunning beaches, and rugged coastal areas, you’ll find a diverse variety of terrains in New Zealand. How about combining your love for lush verdant countryside with your passion for wine and visiting some of the country’s sublime wine-growing regions? Not only will you get to explore some truly outstanding areas of beauty, but you can also learn more about the country’s grape-growing and wine-production industries, visit charming wineries, some of which have a long history, and taste different local products. You can also pick up a few bottles of your favourite tipple to enjoy back at your hotel or take home either as a treat for yourself or as a local and thoughtful gift for friends and family.
Here are some of New Zealand’s gorgeous wine regions to add to your bucket list:
One of New Zealand’s most famous wine areas, Marlborough is one of the country’s most productive wine regions, responsible for more than 70% of all New Zealand’s wine. Located on the South Island, the warm temperatures, sunshine, and dryness make for perfect conditions for grape-growing. With a history dating back to the 1970s, Marlborough is best known for its sauvignon blanc grapes. Whilst there are various excellent wineries throughout the area to discover at all times of the year, try to visit in February, when you can enjoy the atmosphere and tastes of the Marlborough Food and Wine Festival. Pair delicious cheeses and fine meals with tasty wines and give your senses a real treat.
What makes Gisborne particularly interesting is the fact that its eastern location on the North Island means that it is the first of New Zealand’s wine areas to see the new sun each and every day. Gotta get those grapes growing! A fairly remote location, Gisborne offers a somewhat off-the-beaten-track experience for wine aficionados. A laid-back vibe and heaps of sunshine provide plenty of opportunities to chill out and take it easy between your wine explorations. It was here that Captain Cook first landed in the Americas, and grapes have been grown in the area since the mid 1800s. It is especially known for chardonnay and pinot gris grapes.
If you don’t want to travel too far from a major city to enjoy wines, wineries, and vineyards, Auckland offers the perfect destination. Take daytrips to historic wineries with European heritage and sample Bordeaux blends, chardonnay, and more. Visit Auckland’s excellent restaurants, enjoying gourmet delights with local wines, and take time out to discover the city’s delights, such as the Sky Tower, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Domain, aquarium, offshore islands, and harbour.
Located on the North Island, Martinborough is easy to reach from the nation’s capital of Wellington. With just around an hour’s drive you can be in the green heart of the countryside. The area is home to more than 30 beautiful vineyards, and the relatively flat terrain makes this a great area to explore by bicycle. Famous for pinot noir, visit in November to enjoy a popular and lively local festinal: Toast Martinborough.
Situated in the inland part of the South Island, Central Otago is a picturesque area, whether you’re into wine or not. It is easy to reach from Queenstown – get your wine discoveries and thrilling adventures in just a couple of days. It’s particularly famous for its pinot noir grapes and wines. Within the region there are several sub-regions to explore, each offering their own charms and delights.
As the name may suggest, Northland is located in the north of New Zealand’s North Island. The country’s very first vines were planted in this area back in the early 1800s, and many of New Zealand’s wineries can trace their roots back to this area. The climate is perfect for growing grapes, and the area is within close proximity to the sea. The clay soils, weather conditions, and warmer-than-average temperatures allow Northland to have the longest growing season in the country. With tasty reds and whites on offer, sip on chadonnay, pinot gris, viognier, syrah, pinotage, chambourcin, and blends of merlot with cabernet.
Other fascinating and beautiful wine regions in New Zealand include Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Waiheke Island, and Kumeu, all on the North Island, and the South Island’s Waitaki, Canterbury, and Nelson. Take a tour or have a designated sober driver for each day of your fabulous discoveries, and cheers!