The beautiful Bay of Islands was the cradle of both Maori and European civilization in New Zealand.

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. Busby went on to establish vineyards in Australia and is honoured there as the ‘Father’ of the Australian wine industry.

Enterprising Croatian settlers set up small-scale vineyards throughout Northland producing fortified wines. The sub-tropical climate is not ideal for growing grapes as it has heavy rainfall, high humidity and warm winters. However, growers have met this challenge, and a resurgence of interest in viticulture in the last decade has seen a raft of rich-flavoured red wines come to light in Northland. Especially promising are the sturdy well-ripened flavours of the Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots. The warm ripening conditions also suit other varieties and some fine Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs are emerging. The Northland vineyards are located on easy slopes and alluvial flats with a range of soil types from sandy/clay to volcanic. A number of wineries have cellar door sales and tastings.

Expansion of the growing areas is continuing, although Northland still remains the smallest wine region in the country. There are a dozen productive wineries located near Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Kerikeri and Russell, as well as Otaika and Matapouri near Whangarei. The Whangarei visitor centre in Tarewa Park at the town’s southern entrance on S.H.1 will give you directions to the wineries. The staff will also give advice on visiting the magnificent Kauri forests, Hokianga Harbour, Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Reinga and the golden beaches of Doubtless Bay and the Bay of Islands.

This is a place you can explore at a leisurely pace, savouring the vintner’s best offerings, complemented by the region’s fresh fruits and local seafood.

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

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    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.

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    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.

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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

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    Waiheke Island

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

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    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.