Wine regions of New Zealand
New Zealand is a world renowned wine producer, not only home to major brands such as Oyster Bay, but also home to many small wineries. Often these smaller wineries produce only enough for the domestic market, and not to export. Subsequently, a visit to some of these regions provides visitors with an opportunity to taste and purchase wines they would not be able to try without visiting the wineries themselves. During a tailor-made self-drive holiday to New Zealand, there are a number of wine regions that can be easily incorporated.
Consider a trip out to Waiheke Island from Auckland by ferry, either for a day or ideally for several. Here, a number of high quality artisan wines are produced, predominantly red wines – Syrah and Merlot, although in recent years a number of white wines have been produced including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.
Further down the north island, a trip to the Hawkes Bay region is a must for wine lovers. Hawkes Bay is surrounded by a circle of rugged hills, giving it its unique micro-climate, and making it the perfect location for vineyards. It is the oldest wine region in New Zealand, and the leading producer of full-bodied red wines in the country. A unique excursion here from Napier involves enjoying a progressive dinner, where one course is taken at each winery.
Towards the bottom of the north island is the Wairarapa region, with Martinborough and Masterton being the main towns here. This lesser known wine area is home to pinot noir and sauvignon blanc varieties.
Onto the south island, and perhaps one of the best known wine areas in New Zealand – Marlborough. Here, sauvignon blanc is the main variety and the Marlborough region accounts for around 75% of the country’s total wine production. Blenheim is the town in the heart of the region, and it is possible to stay in the grounds of a vineyard here.
The Central Otago region of the south island, with Wanaka at its heart, is the most southerly grape growing region in the world, producing cool climate wines. Pinot Noir is the most common wine here, although Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Reisling are also created.
These areas are just some of the key places in New Zealand in which you can visit wineries, and there are a number of ways to incorporate these. Stay in the grounds of a vineyard, hire a private driver/guide for the day, or perhaps join a cycling tour through the vineyards. The only issue is working out how to bring back all those cases of wine you purchase…!
For more information on wineries of New Zealand, and how best to incorporate these into a self-drive holiday, give us a call on 01323 446550, or see our website www.experienceholidays.co.uk. We can work with you to put together a tailored holiday to New Zealand to suit your preferences and requirements.