The title of ‘Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand’ actually belongs to the most easterly wine region in the world.

Gisborne region lies closest to the International Date Line so its extensive plantings are the first to feel the warm rays of the rising sun. The sheltered coastal plains and fertile alluvial loams over sandy subsoils make the area perfect for large-scale grape growing. Today Gisborne is the primary source of fruit for wineries all over the country. Particularly for Chardonnay which accounts for over half the total yield in Gisborne and one third of the national Chardonnay crop. It also supplies large quantities of bulk grapes for cask wine production such as Muller Thurgau and Gewurztraminer.

The region focuses mainly on white wine varieties with reds representing less than 15% of total output. Like Hawke’s Bay, the areas around Gisborne have a huge variation in soil types and produce wines with quite different characteristics. By way of contrast, some of the largest vineyards focusing on bulk production of quality wines are close to the smallest boutique vineyards in New Zealand growing organic medal-winning wines. In October each year all the vineyards celebrate the ‘First Light Wine and Food Festival’, which draws many visitors to this sunshine coast.

Gisborne is a delightful region to visit, offering great hospitality, superb beaches for surfing, swimming and diving. There are oceans of fresh tasty seafood crying out for Chardonnay accompaniment. The area is usually explored as part of a tour around the picturesque East Cape from the Bay of Plenty, with the option of visiting glorious Lake Waikaremoana on the scenic route back to Rotorua.

The dozen vineyards in this region offer wine samplings and door sales, along with splendid venues for picnicking in gardens and native tree groves.

If you enjoy the full-bloomed fragrance of a well-rounded Chardonnay, you can quaff delicious young wines from dawn to dusk – they’re that good.

Don’t miss Gisborne’s great gift to the wine world.

Wine Regions: Varieties, Vineyards, Wineries, Tasting & Trails

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Central Otago

    The majestic golden tussock hills, dramatic river gorges and weird schist rock outcrops of ‘Central’ make it a most memorable wine trail destination.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Canterbury

    The wine traveller can indulge in luxury in our fourth largest wine-growing region. Canterbury offers superb lifestyle accommodation, wining and dining at exquisite historic homestead vineyards.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Waipara

    One of our newest, rapidly expanding wine growing areas is in a quiet North Canterbury town, an hour’s drive north of Christchurch.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Marlborough

    It is no coincidence that New Zealand’s most famous wine region has the largest grape production and the highest sunshine hours in the country. Marlborough far exceeds the output of any other region.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Nelson

    Picture this! A sumptuous lunch with local fish delicacies, cheeses, olives and fresh fruit. All in a very popular, stylish holiday destination, which is famous for sunshine, beaches, forests, wine, seafood and creative arts.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Wairarapa

    A town with a laid-back village atmosphere has emerged as the hub of this prestigious wine region. Martinborough launched itself onto the world wine scene with superlative Burgundy style Pinot Noir reds in the 1980’s.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Hawkes Bay

    Catch the classic New Zealand wine trail safari through this bountiful, sun-drenched region. Hawke’s Bay has over 40 vineyards and is second to Marlborough in terms of total grape production.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Gisborne

    The title of ‘Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand’ actually belongs to the most easterly wine region in the world.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Waiheke Island

    This ‘Island Suburb’ in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf is the perfect place for a combined seaside holiday and wine trail exploration.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Waikato – Bay of Plenty

    Explore the lush Waikato land and the broad sweep of country inland from the Bay of Plenty, where a dozen wineries produce around 3% of New Zealand’s wine.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Henderson

    For four generations these dedicated pioneer viticulturists tended their vines as the city grew around them slowly engulfing their productive slopes within dense urban conurbations.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Auckland

    The Auckland region is home to New Zealand’s three largest wine producers each having state of the art winemaking equipment and modern blending and bottling facilities.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Rural West Auckland

    The western slopes of our most populous city are New Zealand’s traditional winemaking region. Here in Kumeu, Huapai and Waimauku are some of the long established and most respected wine companies in New Zealand.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Northland

    The area around Waitangi, was also the birthplace of viticulture. The British Government representative James Busby planted a vineyard near the Treaty House in 1832 and made the first New Zealand wines.

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Wine Regions

    New Zealand's Information Network has provided this summary of the main wine growing regions and local vineyard trails as a guide for the visiting wine enthusiast. For a small country on the Pacific Rim, New Zealand is having a remarkable impact on the world wine scene. Missionaries planted our first vines as early as 1819, but only in the last two decades have we seen this country

  • New Zealand Wine Regions

    Matakana

    The wine trail begins south of Warkworth, where a vineyard is located near the highway. The trail then takes in several vineyards on Matakana Road and others clustered around the Matakana township.