Nelson is New Zealand’s sunshine capital. We love its family-owned wineries where the winemakers and owners gladly share the stories of their vines.
The sheltered aspect of Nelson gives protection from the strong winds that funnel through the Marlborough Sounds, and the closeness to the sea allows vineyards to enjoy a minimised frost risk and milder temperatures. The sunlight gives the fruit incredible ripeness and fruit purity.
Grapes are grown in Moutere Hills and Waimea Plains. To the west of the city, the verdant Moutere Hills are slightly warmer than Waimea and the gravel-threaded clay soils give richness and texture to the wines. This is where Nelson’s early pioneers first planted, and it remains the source of some of its finest wines today. Waimea is Maori for ‘river garden’. Historically an area for crops, orchards and hops which has recently expanded into wine. With stony alluvial soils and a moderating maritime influence, wines tend to be lighter and fresher in style than Moutere.
Nelson is a boutique wine region producing outstanding Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and aromatics, as well as an impressive mix of emerging varieties.
- The Sauvignon Blancs are an elegant, restrained expression of this variety, displaying texture and minerality alongside crisp, vivacious tropical fruit with herbal nuances.
- Pinot Noir, whether weighty in Moutere or pretty in Waimea, is always expressive and perfumed, with fine, ripe tannins and complex depths.
- Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer are expressive and fine with poised acidity and rich flavours. The climate allows for a variety of styles.
- Depth, elegance and complexity are hallmarks of the best Nelson Chardonnay and the fruit is remarkably pure and intense. Top wines have great longevity
To fully experience the heart and soul of Nelson – to see into the the essence of a region and its culture, you have to indulge in the glorious food and wine. To quote Matt Lambert of the Musket Room, New York: “Defining Nelson’s cuisine is simple – it’s young, it’s evolving, it’s ingredients driven.”
For craft beer lovers, Nelson is home to more craft breweries than anywhere else in New Zealand. With one of the largest numbers of working artists and galleries in the country, there are find an array of studios, craft markets and artisan products to explore.
Walk the sands of Golden Bay or head inland to Takaka and see the impossibly clear waters of New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs. Walk the Abel Tasman track or take a sea kayaking tour around the coast.
With a sun-drenched climate and spectacular landscape ranging from golden sand beaches to rugged, bush-clad mountains, Nelson is a must-see for any wine visitor.