Regions explained New Zealand

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This large and very diverse region is home to some of New Zealand’s biggest wine companies, as well as numerous high-quality boutique vineyards, offering something for every palate.

Auckland is one of New Zealand’s oldest wine regions, established in the early 1900s by passionate Croatian, Lebanese and English winemakers.

Spread across a large, geographically diverse area, the Auckland wine region encompasses three distinctive subregions, the island of Waiheke, historic West Auckland and stretches north to the coastal enclave of Matakana.

Home to powerful, intense reds – Red blends in the north and on Waiheke Island (which also has thrilling Syrah) – plus world class Chardonnay and fine Aromatics, the modern Auckland wine industry continues to shine.

Auckland’s Diverse Sub-Regions:

These sub-regions are united by their volcanic, clay-rich soils, temperate maritime climate and proximity to New Zealand’s largest city.

Waiheke Island

This picturesque island defines the boundaries of the Auckland region and contributes to its unique terroir. The warm, dry maritime climate promotes intensity, varietal depth, and purity of fruit. Long renowned for its exciting Cabernet blends, the Island has more recently been applauded for gutsy Syrah, elegant Chardonnay, deep, fruit-filled Montepulciano and Petit Verdot, and fragrant Viognier and Pinot Gris wines.

West Auckland

Many of New Zealand’s oldest wine families still calling this warm and fertile region home, after settling here nearly 100 years ago. The sub-region’s old Chardonnay and Merlot vines produce fruit that is used to create stylish wines, which have gained much international acclaim.


An hour north of Auckland are the pretty rolling hills of Matakana, a welcoming destination for wine tourists. Vines are relatively young, but produce fruit-filled Pinot Gris, Syrah and Cabernet-based wines. The climate is balmy, but careful site selection produces wines with good body and texture.

Central Otago

Central Otago, the world’s most southerly wine producing region, is steeped in the history of miners searching for gold from the 1860s onwards. Fine wine, and especially Pinot Noir, is the new gold in this region of New Zealand, known as a centre for adventure sports. The past decade has seen rapid expansion in the fledgling Central Otago wine industry, founded on the successes of a small number of vineyards developed in the latter two decades of the 20th century. While the area planted is still small on the world stage, Central Otago now stands in its own right as a serious and credible wine region, producing some of the finest Pinot Noir in the world.

Hawke's Bay

Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s second largest winegrowing region and has a respected 100 year heritage in wine. With over 80% of the country’s plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Syrah grapes, it has forged a reputation for superior quality single varietal and blended red wines. The region’s Merlot and Cabernet embody ripe fruit flavours that gain complexity with extended time in bottle, while Syrah is produced in a classic European style and is best described as dark, weighty and intensely varietal.


What is it that makes the wines of Marlborough so distinctive? As with any of the great winemaking regions of the world, the answer lies in a magical synergy of climate and soil, underpinned by a desire to express this unique terroir. Here in the north-eastern corner of New Zealand’s South Island, bound by the Pacific Ocean to the east and towering mountain ranges in the hinterlands to the north and south, a broad alluvial plain stretches from the coastline, gradually rising into narrow valleys with favourable northerly aspects. Albarino, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay together with world famous Sauvignon Blanc have placed Marlborough at the very epicentre of modern wine drinking trends. With constant innovation and experimentation paving the way for future generations, there is no better time to discover Marlborough.


Sitting quietly at latitude 40 degrees south at the foot of New Zealand’s North Island, Martinborough wine community mirrors its small town – Old World style with New World flair, creating simply superb hand-crafted wines. Pinot Noir reigns supreme, with some of the nation’s most respected and awarded cuvées heralding from this small corner of New Zealand.

North Canterbury

Located on the east of New Zealand’s South Island and bordering Christchurch city, North Canterbury is an internationally renowned destination for wine and food.

The region is home to 90 + vineyards, most of them independently owned by a close-knit community of local families. With some of the country’s most diversified land formations, from the volcanic Banks Peninsula to the clay and limestone soils of the Waipara and Waikari valleys, the region lends itself to highly varied and interesting soil types. Concentrated and expressive wines are grown here – particularly Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.


Waipara Valley is the fastest-growing wine region in New Zealand. Located 40 minutes’ drive north of Christchurch, Waipara Valley is also the country’s fourth-largest wine region; home to over 1400ha of vines. The broad range of soil types, from gravelly deposits to limestone soil and alluvial subsoil, coupled with the natural sun-trap of the valley enable the viticulturalists of Waipara to produce expansive, award-winning wines of real character.

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