Situated on the East Coast of the North Island, Hawke’s Bay delights in a long growing season, low rainfall and an annual average of 2220 sunshine hours.
Over the last 5 million years, tectonic plate movement has brought up greywacke rock to shape the Kaweka and Ruahine mountain ranges. Major rivers moved and formed valleys and terraces to create over 25 different soil types, from clay loam to limestone to sands and free-draining gravels and red metal.
Earthquakes have rocked the region, and massive flooding on the Ngaruroro River flowed through what is now known as the Gimblett Gravels, dumping gravel and heavy sands. After the earthquake in 1931, it left behind 800 hectares – deemed worthless then, but today it’s some of the most famed New World terroir.
Hawke's Bay is best known for its red blends and Chardonnay but don't overlook the aromatic whites and Syrah that are consistently impressive. The region's Bordeaux blends are wines of great power, elegance and longevity. Merlot is often the higher percentage in blends, providing rich, plummy depths.
- Hawke's Bay Chardonnay are full-bodied, lengthy, almost opulent but with finely-tuned acidity balancing the richness.
- Its Sauvignon Blanc are rich, fruit-laden wines, underpinned by bright acidity, often with a degree of oak fermentation or maturation. The Pinot Gris are aromatic, spicy, bold wines with balanced acidity and good body.
- The Syrah are perfumed and elegant with ripe fruit, supple tannins and lingering spice.
- Hawke's Bay Pinot Noir range from aromatics of cherry, berry fruits, plum, florals and spice, through to more savoury and earthy examples.
Visiting Hawke's Bay
Hawke’s Bay is the first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, and is a popular place for bicycle wine tours. Many cellar doors and numerous artisan producers are connected by 200km of flat, easy riding cycle trails.
New Zealand’s Art Deco capital, Hawke's Bay is abundant in sunshine, beaches and grapes. It's the perfect destination to spend your mornings basking in the sun and surf, afternoons exploring the Art Deco capital Napier, and evenings enjoying world class wine and gourmet cuisine.
Home to New Zealand’s top restaurant and the country’s most elaborate celebrations of Matariki — the Maori New Year — Hawke's Bay is a must-see destination for any wine traveler.