Nelson is NZ’s Sunshine Capital. But we love its 28 family-owned wineries, which mean that when you visit the cellar door, you’ll meet the winemaker and experience their passion first hand. For our craft beer lovers, Nelson grows hops, too, and the region is home to more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in New Zealand. 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!

Sunniest place in NZ

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.”

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.