New Zealand Wine Regions


New Zealand has fast become a premier new world wine country which produces awarding winning wines that portray the wonderful climate and clean air that is found here. New Zealand first became famous worldwide for wine through its Sauvignon Blanc but has fast obtained a good reputation for other varietals such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Methode Traditionnelle and Merlot. Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay are the two premier wine areas with Central Otago fast catching up.

North Island
The wine industry here is small and well spread out. The climate and soils in this region favour Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Syrah and Bordeaux style reds. However, other varietals are being experimented here too, such as Tempranillo and Pinotage.

Auckland Region (Includes Kumeu, Waiheke Island and Matakana)
This covers from Matakana to the north, Greater Auckland, Waiheke Island and South Auckland. Wine produce from around this area are Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Bordeaux style reds. Less varietals grown in the area are Sangiovese and Montepulciano. A short boat ride away is Waiheke Island where, because of the climate, you will come across traditional Bordeaux red grapes and Chardonnay. More recently Syrah has been added as well.

Bay of Plenty
Situated southwest of Auckland this area is mainly focused on Chardonnay with Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc occupying second and third place.

The most easterly tip of New Zealand’s North Island, this region revels in a classic Pacific maritime climate and with it’s fine clay and silt loam soils they create full flavoured aromatic wines. White wines range from classic central European grapes like Chardonnay and Viognier to aromatic Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, and newer varieties like Arneis, Verdelho and Albariño. The red wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, Northern Italy and Spain love living here too, notably including Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Temperañillo and Grenache.

Hawke’s Bay
This area is the oldest wine region of New Zealand and has a similar climate to Bordeaux in France. Red wines dominate with over 80% of New Zealand’s plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah grapes. The area also produces rich and complex Chardonnays.

Wairarapa (includes Martinborough, also Gladstone and Masterton)
This area is small in size but huge in style. Very boutique but is acclaimed for intensity in its flavour of the wine – old world style with new-world flair. Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are main varietals form this area, although others such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Cabernets and Merlot are also grown.

South Island

Situated at the top of the South Island Marlborough is by far the biggest wine producing area of New Zealand, having over 23,00 hectares planted in vines and produces 79% of New Zealand total active wine production. Its Sauvignon Blanc caught the imagination of the world and put this area on the map, however other varietals are grown here such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

Situated on the top left corner of the South Island this region with its extended autumn allows great crops of Mediterranean grapes, olives, stone fruit hops and berry fruit. Vineyards on the Waimea Plains and Moutere Hills produce crisp aromatic white wines, yet Nelson Pinot Noirs also receive respectful attention.

With North Canterbury’s fierce northwesterly warm but drying winds and with the protection of the coastal hills from the cooling easterly winds makes Waipara suitable for viticulture. Although their Pinot and Riesling have the highest profile, Sauvignon Blanc is the most widely planted grape.

Canterbury (Includes Waitaki)
Canterbury is one of the oldest grape growing areas of the South Island. Vineyards span from a scattering on Banks Peninsula to the plains around Christchurch and up to North Canterbury’s Waipara Valley. Some varietals that perform best in this area are Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Central Otago
Central Otago is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular setting for vineyards. The unique terroir is world renowned for producing premium quality wine. From Gibbston Valley through to Bannockburn, Lowburn, Bendigo and Wanaka this region has a growing reputation for Pinot Noir and aromatic whites.

The above is a brief overview of the major wine regions of New Zealand. Should you wish to know more about the wineries of these regions or even wish to order some wine from any or all of these regions, please contact us and we will assist you in any way we can.