DISCOVER NEW ZEALAND;
A LAND LIKE NO OTHER
Samuel Marsden planted New Zealand’s first vineyard in Northland in 1819, but sadly, that remains the region’s major claim to wine fame… so far. In recent years, a new generation of winemakers have planted in Northland, attracted by its relatively warm climate. You should check before heading to any winery in Northland, because they may not be open every day.
The area around Auckland, our largest city, was once the heart of our wine industry. Many of the bigger wineries still have their head offices in Auckland, but actual wine production in the region has been overtaken by other regions further south.
Still, Auckland has many smaller wineries northwest of the city at Kumeu, also an hour’s drive north at Matakana, as well as on Waiheke Island - a 45 minute ferry ride from downtown.
Gisborne is New Zealand’s most famous Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer region. Near the eastern tip of the North Island, this is an area of New Zealand many tourists miss, mainly because it’s so remote. It does reward visitors though, with great surf beaches, ocean fishing and superb Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer wine.
Hawke's Bay is home to many of New Zealand's oldest surviving wineries. On top of a thriving fruit industry, it's a great spot for tourists. Centred around the beautiful art deco town of Napier – rebuilt after an earthquake destroyed it in the 1930s, the region features an outstanding selection of wineries to visit.
While the New Zealand wine industry is best known for cool-climate wine styles, Hawke’s Bay has many warm sites and excellent soils, such as the justly revered Gimblett Gravels, and the region produces very flavourful, high-quality reds from the Bordeaux varieties.
Among the many wineries to choose from, Church Road is notable for its award-winning reds, stunning platters and for having New Zealand’s first wine museum.
This region on the southeast of the North Island includes, the possibly better-known, Martinborough. Winemaking happens on a small scale, but the region has made a well-deserved name for itself based primarily on the quality of its Pinot Noir. This reputation has since been challenged by Central Otago, Marlborough and Waipara, but Martinborough does offer great treats for the wine tourists.
Within relatively easy-reach from Wellington, you can combine a tour of the charming Wairarapa on a trip to the capital.
Locals know Nelson for its fruit and the beauty of its landscape as much for its wine. Overseas visitors lured by the wine delights of Marlborough often miss this bucolic part of the country, to their detriment. The region has become a haven for artists, craftspeople and alternative lifestylers.
The local wine industry has never reached the fame of its neighbour across the Richmond Ranges, with whom it vies for the title of the country’s sunniest region, but there are some very good wines to be enjoyed.
Our home and the country’s most famous wine region has been transformed in the last three or four decades - and true to our pioneering ways, we were the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc and the first to build a winery in Marlborough.
Previously a sheep farming area, today the region is dotted with wineries. The population, too, has become more cosmopolitan, with many settlers from other winegrowing parts of the world.
What makes Marlborough unique in the world of wine is that you’ll only taste good wines – everywhere you go, you’ll find those unmistakable Marlborough, fresh fruit characters in wines produced to at least a high professional standard.
With its hills, winding rivers and English university-style architecture, Canterbury has much to offer. In addition, the originally French settlement of Akaroa offers great opportunities to taste local cheeses, as well as good Rieslings and Gewürztraminers.
Waipara in North Canterbury has come to the fore as a major winemaking region, making Canterbury one of New Zealand’s top five wine regions. Brancott Estate has also planted in the region, largely inspired by the results with Riesling. A number of wineries in this area have facilities for tourists.
Central Otago is the world’s most southerly wine region and also one of the most spectacular. As a tourist destination, few can match it. Depending on the time of year, you can even combine your visit to a winery with skiing on water or snow!
It is also the centre of adventure tourism, including jet boating and bungee jumping. Though a difficult region in which to make wine, the results are often spectacular, especially with Pinot Noir. This is a wine region not to be missed.