wine regions new zealand
The South Island
In addition to its breath-taking natural beauty, the South Island also produces excellent wines. In fact, most of New Zealand's vineyards are found here.
The largest wine region of New Zealand, Malborough is also the most popular New Zealand wine region in the world. You will find a diverse range of wines produced by winemakers in this region, including intense Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and wines from aromatic grape varieties. Malborough is divided into three main subzones: Southern Valleys, Wairau Valley, and Awatere Valley.
Situated around the town of Blenheim, Wairau Valley is now the most important wine appellation in New Zealand wine country. It makes up two-thirds of the vineyard area of the wine country. The grape variety Sauvignon Blanc produces extremely spicy, aromatic white wines that are unmistakable worldwide.
Nelson is located 2 hours' drive from Marlborough on a valley floor framed by snow-capped mountains. The same grape varieties can be found here as in Marlborough, only the climate is a bit cooler.
The coolest and most spectacular wine region in New Zealand, Central Otago is the southernmost cultivation wine-growing area in the world. Vines grow on narrow terraces on the mountain slopes and the dominating grape variety is Pinot Noir, with the wines among the best in the world. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay play a secondary role here.
The North Island
There are a multitude of experiences to be had on the north island from active volcanoes to natural islands to New Zealand History … and wine.
There are 5000 hectares of vineyards in Hawkes Bay, being the second largest growing region in New Zealand. Located near to the small towns of Napier and Hastings, this is the sunniest wine-growing region and is famous for its Bordeaux blends from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Syrah also plays an increasingly important role.
Gisborne is considered the Chardonnay capital of New Zealand. This variety gives rise to highly aromatic wines that smell of pineapple and melon, which are fermented partly in stainless steel and partly in wooden barrels.
Auckland is not just New Zealand's largest city, but the Auckland wine region with Waiheke Island produces some of New Zealand's most expensive and best wines. Waiheke Island in particular has now made a name for itself with excellent red wines.
Not far from Wellington you’ll find the small Wairarapa vineyard. It is home to some of the country's most famous wineries. The focus here is on the red Pinot Noir, which is expanded into full-bodied wines.
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