Wineries of Gisborne
The mix of high sunshine, verdant landscapes, fascinating history, a laid back lifestyle and the exciting range of wine styles makes Gisborne a beguiling destination for the wine traveller.
At the easternmost tip of New Zealand, Gisborne’s warm dry climate and cooling afternoon sea breezes preserve natural acidity and tropical fruit flavors. Fine clay and silt loam soils create full flavored aromatic wines with a marine note.
White wines range from Chardonnay and Viognier to aromatic Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, Arneis, Verdelho and Albariño. Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Temprañillo and Grenache thrive here too
Wineries of Hawke’s Bay
New Zealand’s second largest wine region, sunny Hawke’s Bay has been an abundant source of fine wine since 1851. Located in the North Island of NZ, its wine tourism trail also showcases the region’s art deco architecture and artisan producers.
Hawke’s Bay is the oldest wine region in New Zealand, the first vines planted in 1851 by Marist missionaries. A relatively large and diverse region, it’s benign climate and high sunshine hours have long marked the region as ideal for fruit growing. The earliest vineyards were established on the coast and in areas close to Napier, Havelock North and Hastings, spreading to the Heretaunga Plains, and more recently the region’s river valleys. Over thousands of years, 4 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. This diversity produces an impressive array of wine styles. It is best known for its Bordeaux style reds and Chardonnay, and enjoys a significant international reputation for producing some of the world’s best wines.
Wineries of Marlborough
New Zealand’s flagship wine region, Marlborough, is recognized as one of the world’s premium wine regions. In just a few decades winemakers have embraced this small, yet diverse region, exploring its nuances to craft many exhilarating flavors and varieties.
It’s been said that there is no wine anywhere in the world that tastes like the wine of Marlborough; the balance of extraordinary purity and intensity of flavors set around distinctive fruit characteristics and appealing balanced acidity is superb. As with any great wine making region, the secret lies in the magical synergy of climate and soil, underpinned by a desire to express this unique terroir. Early pioneers first planted in 1873 in the Ben Morven Valley, with further vineyards established regularly up to the 1960’s. After a lull, more grapes were planted in 1973, and nowadays, viticulture is emphatically dominant, with over 20,000 hectares of vines. The strong contrast between hot sunny days and cool nights help vintners extend the ripening period of their vines like nowhere else, and the area is widely considered by many to produce the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc.
Wineries of Nelson
Beautiful, sunny Nelson is a must-visit for any wine visitor with its tiny yet thriving high-quality industry illustrating perfectly the region’s long history of horticulture and artistic endeavors. Despite producing only 2.4% of NZ’s grapes, Nelson wines are famous for their quality.
Nelson has a gentle sun-drenched climate and a spectacular landscape ranging from golden sand beaches to rugged, bush-clad mountains. The region is long renowned for crops and orchards, with vines having been cultivated by the mid-1800s German settlers, but it was the pioneering 1970s producers who established the modern wine industry. Production is small but the quality is impressive. Excellent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and aromatics are produced with Nelson also boasting an impressive and eclectic mix of other varieties. Grapes are grown in the Moutere Hills and Waimea Plains; the verdant Moutere Hills are slightly warmer and wetter than Waimea and the gravel-threaded clay soils give richness and texture to the wines. Waimea is Maori for ‘river garden’. With stony alluvial soils and a moderating maritime influence, wines tend to be lighter and fresher in style than Moutere. Pinot Noir is perfumed, Chardonnay rich and expressive and the aromatics vibrant with a flinty mineral undercurrent.
Wineries of the Waitaki Valley
New Zealand’s newest – and smallest – wine region, the Waitaki Valley straddles the boundary between the North Otago and Canterbury provinces. The vineyards are mostly small, intensively managed and produce a range of distinctive cool climate wines.
The soil is limestone-dominant due to a geological fault which raised an ocean bed 38 million years ago. Alluvial greywacke and schist and are also present.
The Pinot Noir have been likened to Chambolle-Musigny by Matt Kramer, American wine critic. All wines demonstrate a distinctive minerality and complexity of fruit flavors. These wines frequently possess a notable lingering finish on the palate in addition to fragrant aromatics.
Wineries of Central Otago
A spectacular landscape that’s home to some of the world’s best Pinot Noir, and impressive, vivid white wines. At 46°S, Central Otago is the southernmost wine growing region in the world, and ringed by mountains interlaced with lakes and deep river gorges. This is a truly beautiful region.
Central Otago is steeped in history relating to the exploits of miners who came in search of gold from the 1860s onwards. Nowadays, fine wine, especially pinot noir, is the new gold in this southern region of New Zealand.
Central Otago is New Zealand’s only true “continental” region with greater extremes of daily and seasonal temperatures than those found in any of the country’s maritime regions. The summers are hot and dry, and the winters crisp and snowy. Soil structures are very different to those of New Zealand’s other regions and were formed over successive ice ages as the glaciers ground schist rocks to a fine flour. The result is a soil low in vigor but high in mineral richness with the ability to use irrigation to keep vines at the desired degree of controlled stress so as to provide optimum fruit quality. All of these attributes have combined to result in Central Otago standing on the world stage as a unique wine growing terroir, from which premium quality boutique wines are made.