Production of an ever-growing selection of varieties of wine is coming from new areas in New Zealand that are planting vines, as the growing of wine here is often showing excellent results. One of New Zealand’s current primary exports is wine.
Your New Zealand Wine Trail Holiday ideally will afford you a day or two in various different wine regions. A large number of vineyards maintain restaurants, creating masterful food and wine pairings. There are vineyards that have expanded into planting olive crops as well as different gourmet items. Each possesses a unique architectural style and scenic, lovely topography.
There are many wineries in places that also feature beaches, bush or mountains, arts and crafts, historic townships, and other great amenities for your enjoyment.
Try an established Wine Trail Day Tour for every location if you want a complete wine experience without the hazard of drinking and driving. Alternatively, you can engage a vehicle for your own mini tours… sampling the wines and gourmet delicacies produced by many regions.
You can build a varied, wonderfully exciting holiday when you take the Kayaking Wine Tour to the Omata Estate located in the Bay of Islands, or vary it with a cycle winery tour in Hawkes Bay.
It has been my experience that a lot of wine makers enjoy chatting and sharing their great expertise of the wines they lovingly craft… for it IS a craft. The typical New Zealand character is ready to try out new things and take chances. This is evident in various elements of their wine production as well.
You can take a tour to visit all of the listed areas in New Zealand. Other choices include excursions through the North or South Island regions. I have chosen the primary wine producing regions, with a recommended route to bring you on a systematic course touring this nation.
Kerikeri – Northland, while not one of the primary wine regions, offers several fine wineries. Kerikeri has Marsden Estate and Cottle Hill, which are two amazing wineries. Quality restaurants can be found at both locations.
Auckland and its surrounding areas like Matakana, Waiheke Island, West Auckland, and Clevedon feature wine growing.
- Matakana is located an hour’s drive north of the metropolitan area, with a number of fine wineries available. Set aside a few days to enjoy this region. Lovely beaches, potteries, and Matakana township with a great Farmers Market on the weekend ensure that your time is full between wine tastings.
*Waiheke Island is home to some outstanding vineyards and renowned labels. You can choose from a Day Wine Tour or rent a vehicle to enjoy several days on this island. There are some wineries with breathtaking views that are slightly out of the way. The wharfs offer rental cars, or you can use the Sealink ferry to bring your own car across.
- West Auckland – It’s one of the longest running wine regions and it has multiple successful vineyards which were created by immigrating Croatian families. It is vital to have transportation. Many of the most recognized labels originate in Kumeu, Henderson or Oratia. Artisan’s Winery – Oratia boasts a fine eatery, as well as fantastic wine offerings.
- South Auckland, while it doesn’t offer the broad array of vineyards, it does have a few near the Clevedon area. I would advise Vin Alto for a unique winery. You might try wine sampling or a gourmet repast with a complementary vintage, a great activity with a lot of the menu items… down to the venison, which is produced in-property. You must be sure to sample their exquisite limoncello liquor!
The Hawkes Bay area ranks as one of the fastest growing grape growing districts in New Zealand, creating largely Chardonnay and Bordeaux type wines. This spot offers wine, food, art trails, and Art Deco Napier – enough attractions to keep any visitor happy for days! You will require transport to get to the many wineries, which are spread far apart. If you want a change of pace, you might try a Bicycle Winery Tour. Also, set aside some time to explore the numerous gourmet food makers throughout the area.
Gisborne – With the first vines of grapes planted some time ago, about 1836, Gisborne, acclaimed as the Chardonnay capital of New Zealand, possesses some excellent wineries and wines, and is also the production area of the acclaimed, internationally, gewertztraminer at Vinoptima.
The Wairarapa and Martinborough regions are known for their Pinot Noir. It’s best to stay overnight and experience the excellent local food and wines. Martinborough enjoys popularity as a weekend vacation destination as well as for vineyard tours since it is close to Wellington.
Marlborough – Nelson – The trademark wine for this region is the Sauvignon Blanc, thought by many around the world to be the world’s best; however, their Pinot Noir is a close runner up for the area. If you have time, this area offers plenty for you to stay here a few days – there are arts and crafts, hiking and canoeing the magnificent Abel Tasman National Park, and gorgeous beaches.
Canterbury – Earliest of the South Island vineyard regions, Reisling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are among the top wines produced here. Join a Wine Tour or explore the Banks Peninsula or Waipara Valley by car. French Farm is a delightful spot for a midday bite and a wine tasting.
Otago – This is a comparatively recent entry into the vineyard business, and the first grape growers here were called “crazy”. But, they proved their critics wrong when they began to win international acclaim for the wines in the region. The rock-strewn hills are ideal for cultivating Pinot Noir and fragrant white wines. Take a wine tour and you will visit several interesting wineries, including Waitiri Creek Winery, which is based in an old church, or Gibbston Valley, with its wine cave.
When you get tired of wine tasting, head down to Queenstown and Wanaka where you will find breathtaking views and a myriad of activities. Have a great time enjoying your New Zealand Wine Trail Holiday!