The ultimate guide to visiting wineries in New Zealand • allé custom travel planning and travel inspiration

Once I acquired to New Zealand (and, as you already know, shortly proceeded to fall in love with it) I knew very little concerning the wine scene. I was full of questions like “where do I start?”, “where are the best wine regions?”, “how do I find a region with my favorite varietals?” and “what are the best wineries?” In a sense, I wrote this guide to visiting wineries in New Zealand for me as one thing I wish I had had several years in the past.

It’s an honor to cross it down and introduce you to the New Zealand wine path: twelve distinct wine regions, every rising stars on the international wine scene in their own method.

A little bit of background on wine in New Zealand

New Zealand is exclusive in the sense the place the complete nation is ripe with wineries, and I really mean the complete nation. Spanning 1000 miles, from the tippity prime of Northland, to the lowly lakes of Wanaka, wine thrives throughout the country. New Zealand can also be to in a position to boast about having probably the most southerly vineyard in the world; one of the best information of all? Every area is accessible inside a two hour flight of one another, making New Zealand the perfect destination for the wine lover in all of us. The international highlight swung its gaze on the New Zealand wine scene in the 1970’s when consumers obtained a tickle of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Slowly, however certainly, Pinot Noir turned aside of the dialog, then got here Riesling, Chardonnay, and Syrah, delightfully so. The most enjoyable half is that wine tradition has blossomed relatively just lately. The first bottle of wine wasn’t even bottled till the late 1800’s (in contrast to Europe’s 6,000 yr previous wine traditions). That opens the doorways to something new and exciting: A brand new era of adventurous winemakers experimenting and taking the craft to an entire different degree. The outcome? A wine world that you simply by no means knew might even exist is now on your doorstep.

What makes New Zealand wine special?

The long answer lies in the idea of terroir. Terroir is the set of all environmental elements that affect a grape’s expression, including unique environmental contexts, farming practices that the wine grower inserts themself and a crop’s specific progress habitat. Collectively, these characteristics bloom into terroir: what you taste in a glass, the dazzling colors that you simply see and those sweet aromas you odor. In plain English, terroir is a cause why wine tastes totally different in Tuscany than it does in the Napa Valley and the rationale why a Pinot Noir from the Rio Negro river in Argentina are going to taste completely totally different than a Pinot Noir grown in Ahr, Germany. Even within New Zealand, typically just miles apart, a Pinot Noir goes to taste totally different. Terroir is the essence of what makes the New Zealand wine scene such an thrilling wine destination.

Without further ado here is my guide to visiting wineries in New Zealand (in geographical order, from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South), and a quick guide to each- take pleasure in!


Dubbed the winterless north, Northland is definitely accessible from Auckland and you’re never greater than 30 miles from the ocean this beautiful wine growing area. Northland additionally boasts the warmest wine rising climate in New Zealand, you possibly can taste the sunshine in every bottle of wine that is produced from Northland’s boutique wineries.

Northland is understood for: Viogniers, Pinotages and Chambourcin
Greatest Northland wineries: Marsden Estate (for their 2015 Chambourcin that may change your life) and The Landing (for their Italian varietals blossoming in New Zealand).
Northland is greatest for: Those that want wineries close to Auckland and are wanting to get out of the town, into the sunshine, and onto the seashore, as well as the adventurous wine drinkers in search of something a bit of totally different and reinvented.


The greatest a part of Auckland is that all the things is just within an arm’s attain as soon as you touch down. That features some world famend wineries at your fingertips. Volcanic and clay heavy soils make it a really unique region with vineyards having started from Croatian, Lebanese and English winemakers.

Auckland is understood for: Merlot, Cabernet, and Syrah
Standout Auckland wineries: Cable Bay (Waiheke Island’s crowning winery), Brick Bay (for the beautiful grounds and their cheeky petit verdot), and Mudbrick Winery & Restaurant (for their gourmand platters and blissful terrace)
Auckland is greatest For: These basing themselves in Auckland and on the lookout for finer eating to pair with chic wines.

💡My favourite winery close to Auckland: Man O’ Struggle Vineyards
Man O’ Warfare is likely one of the trickiest wineries to entry as a result of there are actually only two ways, first by personal boat from Auckland, or on a sluggish rolling filth street where you’ll watch the world go by as you gingerly bump and bustle for half and hour; which is one thing that I really like about Man O’ Warfare Vineyards, the street isn’t paved, and they haven’t any plans to pave it, to maintain mud, noise, and visitors down. There isn’t a personal quest for fortune and fame (although they seem to have stumbled upon it fairly simply with the standard of their wines). The wider hapori ‘community’ spirit on Waiheke Island runs robust, and Man O’ Struggle exemplifies it superbly and that evokes me with how I choose my wineries and to be weary of ecological impression that they’ve on their vines and group. Man O’ Conflict also boasts the one beach-front cellar door on Waiheke, the place you’ll be able to take in views of the bay when you sip on your pinot. With a modest colonial period bungalow perched in full glory of the outside. Man O’ Warfare doesn’t just do unimaginable wine, but they’ve out of this world meals. Come hungry and thirsty and you will leaving wanting naught.


Located just south of Auckland, Waikato is traditionally regarded as a wine region, as it’s principally farmland (assume cheese!), and is enlargement even for New Zealand requirements. Nevertheless, with several delicious wineries hiding between the flowers this up and coming wine area will tickle your palate with some distinctive variatial.

Waikato is understood for: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Gewurztraminer
Standout Waikato wineries: Vilagrad (for their distinctive Vilagrad Sparkling Charminar).
Waikato is greatest for: Those that love street trips and want to explore each wine and cheese with Over the Moon, Pukeatua Peak, Kaimai Cheese, Mercer and Meyer, all award profitable cheese makers in Waikato.

Bay of A lot

A visit to Bay of A lot ensures having the ability to sip on wine in certainly one of New Zealand’s most beautiful regions. Put together your self for gondola rides, mountain biking, soaks in the recent swimming pools, or a day on the seashore, all with a glass of wine in hand (I’m positive sippy cups may be organized for the mountain biking days).

Bay of Lots is understood for: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc
Standout Bay of Lots wineries: Mills Reef Winery (for his or her outstanding Bordeaux varietal reds, and an award record too numerous to listing) and Volcanic Hills Winery (for his or her antipasto platter and gondola rides provided).
Bay of A lot is greatest for: Those that are outdoorsy and want to explore the Coromandel and Rotorua with a glass of wine in hand.


Tucked away on New Zealand’s japanese coast, Gisborne’s cellar doorways are mere 15 minutes from the regional airport and when you’re wanting to mix wine with New Zealand’s coolest surf city you’re in the proper place.

Gisborne is greatest Recognized For: Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and the first place in New Zealand to see the sunrise
Standout Gisborne Wineries: Poverty Bay (for getting a feel for a way a basic laid-back Gisborne cellar door features), Milton Vineyards (for his or her pretty natural/biodynamic wines), and Wrights (for the pizza, views, and obviously, wine)
Girborne is greatest For: Relaxed white wine lovers wanting to have the opportunity to go to prime notch wineries in their togs (kiwi slang for swimsuit).

Hawke’s Bay

One among New Zealand’s sunniest areas, and the second largest wine growing region. Hawke’s Bay is greatest cruised round in a historic car testing artwork deco Napier and popping into one of many 72 cellar doors.

Hawke’s Bay is greatest recognized for: Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay
Standout Hawke’s Bay Wineries: Black Barn Vineyards (for their platters and earthly Tempranillo), Church Street (for being one of the oldest in the world, and who really know what they’re doing), Craggy Vary (for their award profitable all the things) and Trinity Hills (for breaking boundaries with is their Previous Tawny)
Hawke’s Bay is greatest for: These wanting to go off the crushed path, see some of New Zealand’s oldest vines and vineyards, but but need a nicely established, award profitable, wine path.

💡My favourite winery in Hawke’s Bay: Te Awa
Te Awa was the primary vineyard I ever went to in New Zealand, it’s the place the place I tried my first ever Pinot Noir, and it was the place my associate and I made our determination to build our house amongst the vines, just up the street. Te Awa looks like house and that may be a very onerous experience for just any vineyard to replicate. It’s also a vineyard that reaches a bit farther from residence with vineyards stretching out with over 15 totally different varietals all being experimented with in conjunction with their single property vineyards in the Gimblett. If I haven’t gushed enough, the vineyard is divine, the restaurant heavenly, best of all, Te Awa is among the most accessible wineries in the Gimblett Gravels, it is causal, but upscale, unpretentious and welcoming of anyone who needs to get a taste of the region. Te Awa exudes a magic that has to be experienced and don’t even take into consideration leaving without lingering over a glass of their Rosé or Albariño.


Making an attempt to discover the Wairarapa on a map may take you a while as a result of it produces just 1% of New Zealand’s complete wine production. Nevertheless, this tiny boutique wine rising area bases its epicenter in Martinbrough; host of the Toast Martinborough Pageant

Wairarapa is greatest recognized for: Pinot Noir and Savangion Blanc
Standout Wairarapa wineries: Te Kairanga (for his or her straightforward going pinot noirs that may win you over at first sip) and Cambridge Street (a hidden gem bursting with new method, should you get an opportunity to chat with Lance, seize the chance to find out what he’s received up his sleeve for the coming yr)
Wairarapa is greatest For: Those who have based mostly themselves in Wellington, want to get out of the town, drive over the white-knuckle Remutaka Vary and into a tiny city built round wine.


Nelson is certainly one of New Zealand’s boutique wine areas, you gained’t find any huge names, however you can see a few of the best hospitality and an something goes angle, to both wine making and life.

Nelson is greatest recognized for: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc
Standout Nelson Wineries: Fossil Ridge (for his or her macadamias and olives, that pair exquisitely with their wine) and Mahana Estates (for views, views, views and did I mention views?)
Nelson is greatest For: The adventures and outdoorsy people. Nestled onto Tasman Bay you’ll be able to hike, kayak, swim, hunt for wild mussels and still have time to fit in a number of wine tastings.


Unequivocally New Zealand’s most famous wine region. It will possibly simply be stated that Marlborough put New Zealand onto the worldwide wine scene with their Sauvignon Blancs.

Marlborough is greatest recognized for: Sauvignon Blanc
Standout Marlborough wineries: Cloudy Bay (one in every of Marlborough’s iconic wineries and as a result of to not go to can be sacrilegious) and Spy Valley (the place the structure, wine, and sweeping views will blow you away)
Marlborough is greatest for: The critical wine connoisseurs in search of top-notch basic Sauvignon Blancs

💡My favourite winery in Marlborough: Giesen
Each nice wine drinker can look again at their life and decide a single bottle, from a single yr, that changed every little thing. For me, that bottle came from Giesen, and that yr was the 2015 Risling Two Brothers Reserve. For years I had heard terms like “honeysuckle” and  “perfumed” to describe wines. Nevertheless, up till that time, wine had tasted lots like… wine; every time I had a glass I tasted numerous muddy flavors, that diluted every little thing that I attempted. My first sip of Gisen’s 2015 Two Brothers Reserve Riesling modified that. It was the first time that I tasted pears and honey so distinctly and definitively. In an unusual means, my palate had turned a nook and was was as if being able to use a way for the first time, thus started my journey to to determine tastes and delicate terroir by means of wine. Giesen also has a crackin’ cheese platter, and when you occur to be there winter, there’s a cozy hearth to spend your tasting cuddled in front of.

Canterbury and North Canterbury

Tucked between the Alps and the ocean, this region is bursting with wineries which might be hidden gems and opportunities to go whale watching, mineral-rich thermal swimming pools, and boutique outlets.

Canterbury is understood for: Pinot Gris and Riesling
Standout Canterbury wineries: Black Property (for their minimalist aesthetic, 100% natural vines, and out of this world lunch menu), and Pegasus Bay Winery and Restaurant (for it’s iconic wine status and aged New Zealand Gouda that it serves).
Canterbury is greatest for: Those who discover themselves underwhelmed by Christchurch and wanting sprawling views with a plethora of boutique wineries that you simply gained’t discover anyplace else in the world.

💡my favourite winery in North Canterbury: Waipara Hills
“Your Sauvignon Blanc tastes like crackling black pepper and it’s dancing on my tongue”, that sentence raised an eyebrow from Dennis, Waipara Hills sommelier extraordinar. I used to be lucky sufficient to meet Dennis once I was just starting to get acquainted with the wine world. Once we arrived at Waipara Hills Winery we have been the only wine tasters for miles and Dennis determined to lay out everything of the history of wine, how wine works and how to win at a wine tasting. He taught me that first and foremost, that wine tastes totally different to everyone and that’s due to the truth that no two taste buds will perceive nuances precisely the identical. Subsequently, it’s ok to hate wines with 20 award stickers on them and it’s ok to love no-name, no-award, wines. Second, drink the wine that you simply love, whether it is a bottle of Two Buck Chuck, or a $32 bottle of 2016 Waipara Hills Equinox Sauvignon Blanc that dances on your tongue and tastes like cracked black pepper. Third, take pleasure in your wine tasting, don’t get too caught up in the sniff, swirl, and taste; or do! It can be a part of the enjoyable.

Waitaki Valley

The Waitaki River is certainly one of New Zealand’s largest, that snakes via the Waitaki Valley. Here you’re find coastal breezes combined with views of the Southern Alps, in a tiny, tucked-away, comparatively unknown wine region.

Waitaki Valley is understood for: Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer.
Standout Waitaki Valley wineries: Pasquale Kurow Vineyard (for their aromatic grape varieties like Nebbiolo and Dolcetto) and Ostler Wines (for their boutique cool climate wines).
Waitaki Valley is greatest for: Those that really need to get off the crushed path and discover one in every of New Zealand’s smallest wine locations.

Central Otago

Central Otago is the land of mountains, valleys and lakes. The various landscape seeps into all the wines grown and with quite a few sub-regions, if you would like to taste a hundred totally different features of 1 varietal in the identical region, Central Otago has all of it.

Central Otago is know for: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc
Standout Central Otago wineries: Rippon (for a basic views over Lake Wanaka) and Misha’s (for super exciting new takes of Pinot Noirs, and the late harvest Gewürztraminer)
Central Otago is greatest for: Pinot Noir lovers and these wanting to attempt a mess of subregions with a number of the greatest views New Zealand has to supply.

When you’re on the lookout for even more wine: four New Zealand Wine Festivals Not to Miss

New Zealand is house, and host, to a number of fantastic wine festivals that aren’t to be missed. They provides you with a greater taste of the area, individuals, and course wine.

Toast Martinborough
Sunday 18 November 2018
Martinborough, New Zealand
One of the excessive tech wine festivals on the market Toast makes use of a cashless, arms free AWOP wristband cost system. Every of the eight pageant websites provides quite a lot of dishes at various worth factors, with gluten-free and vegetarian options. Round ten wineries can be showcasing their new releases and award-winning wines. There’s something for the whole lot, nevertheless I like to recommend heading over to the bubbles bar at Margrain Vineyard to get started. There’s actually something for everybody at Toast Martinborough from 100% vegan wines at Tirohana Estate, natural wines at Vynfields, Apres at Muirlea Rise, Toast Chardonnay at Ata Rangi, and the rosé bar at Te Kairanga Winery. Blind tastings are a lots (and super enjoyable!) and when you need a second to let all of it sink in head over to one of the twenty musical acts that happen over the course of the pageant.

2nd to 11 November 2018
Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Basic provides you the power to pattern wine and meals till you’re absolutely up to the brim. For a whole 10 days in November you’ll find a way to chow down on food that has been either foraged, fished, and (all the time) sourced in the guts of Hawke’s Bay. The better part is that wine is all the time included, and is all the time plentiful. Numerous wineries, restaurants, cafes participate to offer you a shocking overview of what the area has to supply at a fantastically discounted worth. A spotlight is Mission Property Vineyard that serves a tasty two course set menu with a glass of wine for a humble $50NZD ($35USD)

Marlborough Food and Wine Pageant
February 9, 2019
Marlborough, New Zealand
The Marlborough Wine & Food Pageant is beautiful New Zealand’s unique and longest operating wine pageant, also it’s most popular. The pageant takes place in one among New Zealand’s oldest and most postcard good vineyards: Brancott Winery. This pageant gathers over 40 of Marlborough greatest wineries, hosting classics comparable to Cloudy Bay, Giesen Wines, and Fromm Winery. Not to fear there might be meals round with over 25 meals spots all pining for you attention and style bites. The incontrovertible fact that the Marlborough Meals and Wine Pageant solely lasts a day brings tears to my eyes, however with 34 cellar doorways in Marlborough the festivities don’t have to stop.

North Canterbury Meals & Wine Pageant
March, 10 2019
Waipara Valley, North Canterbury
The North Canterbury Meals & Wine Pageant dubbed the “coolest little wine festival in the country.” With over 30 wineries attending with the likes of The Crater Rim, Pegasus Bay, and Black Property, joined along with 25 meals stalls serving scrumptious morsels like Kaikoura cheese platters, Manuka smoked pork, and West Coast whitebait and pāua patties this pageant gathers together the perfect of Canterbury . You’ll additionally find 9 pop-up local market stalls, and four bands, this little pageant packs an enormous punch, and does good too, supporting the Māia Well being Foundation. You’ll really feel such as you’re at a group park having an enormous family reunion with those that love meals and wine simply as a lot as you do, the kiwi means.