You can’t go wrong when it comes to New Zealand wine: from Auckland to Canterbury, the country is home to a number of fantastic wine regions. Your tasting experience will depend on which grape varietals you like best and which parts of the country you’re eager to explore, so to help you choose, we showcase some of New Zealand’s best producers and their prized pickings.
As the easternmost point of the North Island, Gisborne receives a lot of sunlight. Not only that, but this wine region is also the first in the world to welcome the new day’s sun. White grapes are the main specialty here: Gisborne’s vineyards and wineries are notable for their chardonnay, chenin blanc, gewürztraminer and riesling.
The close proximity to Wellington makes Wairarapa the ideal day-trip destination for wine enthusiasts. The area’s best boutique wineries are based in the town of Martinborough and have earned international prestige for their pinot noir. Martinborough’s vineyards are also known for hosting the Toast Food, Wine and Music Festival on the third Sunday of every November. Wairarapa is climatically quite similar to Marlborough, getting low periods of rainfall and lots of sunshine.
With a varied selection of wineries located within easy reach of Christchurch, the Canterbury region has earned itself a solid reputation for its pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Its burgeoning Waipara sub-region, just north of Christchurch, has also been gaining traction over the years for its riesling. The wider Canterbury wine region is relatively young in New Zealand terms, having had its first vineyard planted in 1977, but it is also the fourth largest in the country.