New Zealand Wine Regions UncorkedNo trip to New Zealand is complete without sampling the fantastic regional wines on offer.....
Here we summarise what four different wine regions have to offer as well as the best place to stay for easy winery and cellar door access on your self-drive holiday. We offer wine and food specific packages or can include additional winery day tours in any of our packages. Just let us know you’re a wine enthusiast when enquiring about your holiday package and we can recommend options.
Hawke’s Bay – The oldest and second largest wine region in New Zealand, Hawkes Bay is the leading producer of full-bodied reds with 85% of its production being Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrahs. The region also specialises in rich and complex Chardonnays. Staying in the beautiful seaside town of Napier you can combine a winery and art deco guided tour to make the best use of your time. Napier also acts as a great one-night detour from the long drive from Rotorua to Wellington, arrive around noon and join an afternoon wine tour before heading off on your onward travels the following day.
Wairarapa – New Zealand’s boutique wine region producing only 3% of the countries total wine production offers both wine and charm. Acclaimed not only for its plummy Pinot Noir’s, the Sauvignon Blanc grape also thrives here due to a similar climate to the Marlborough region. Wairarapa has three sub regions, Masterton, Gladstone and Martinborough. We recommend a visit to Martinborough due to its small country village charm and focus as a wine destination. Here the wineries are all in close proximity to each other and the roads are flat so hiring a bike and taking a self-guided wine tour is a perfect option for those overnighting in Martinborough. Alternatively, you can choose to stay in the nearby vibrant city of Wellington and take a guided wine tour which includes a scenic train ride from Wellington to Featherston – perfect for wine and train buffs!
Marlborough – No doubt you have heard of Marlborough, recognised as one of the premium wine regions of the world. Being New Zealand’s largest wine region, its poster child is Sauvignon Blanc which is 80% of its production and thrives in year-round sunshine. The region isn’t just for white wine enthusiasts with Pinot Noir the second most produced grape and definitely worth a sip (or two). Blenheim is the closest town to the wineries though our clients also have the option of staying in nearby Picton where the guided wine tours will also provide pick up and drop offs from. For those wanting a luxury vineyard experience Marlborough Vintners Hotel is a fantastic property hidden amongst the vines, offering bikes for hire so you can explore the bounty of Marlborough wineries at a leisurely pace.
Central Otago – The world’s southernmost wine producing region produces some of New Zealand’s best Pinot Noir in some of the most dramatic of landscapes. The continental climate and extreme temperature variations create a short and intense growing season leading to a signature Pinot Noir that is deeply coloured with flavours of doris plum, sweet spice and bramble. The vines also yield striking white wines particularly Pinot Gris and Riesling. With an abundance of sub regions the choices for visitors are endless, you really could spend several days exploring the wineries of Gibbston, Bannockburn, Wanaka, Cromwell, Alexandra and Bendigo. A favourite for our clients is to stay in the hotspot of Queenstown and take either a half or full day wine tour to Gibbston, which offers a wealth of vineyards and cellar doors as well as a cheesery to visit. Alternatively, if you are wanting a rural vineyard overnight experience then Kinross in Gibbston is worth a stay, offering boutique studio cottages nestled amongst the vines. Here the cellar door features wine from six local producers as well as bike hire if you are wanting to venture to the nearby wineries too.
Happy wine tasting!
Written by: Monique Riddell
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