When traveling through the rolling hills, and large surfing communities in New Zealand, you can find some of the best vineyards with great wine production on any coast.
Internationally, little is known about wines from New Zealand, well recognised over the world for its scenic beauty, surfing beaches, snow clad volcanoes, and the gentlest of people. But there happens to be some of the best wine producing regions in the world there!
New Zealand, in fact, produces some of the best premium quality wines in the world that command a pretty hefty price— which is why you will rarely find them in supermarkets. The country has long, warm summers that create a defectless climate for growing wine grapes. Their red blend Bordeaux, Syrah and Pinot Noir sell for close to a hundred U.S. dollars per bottle. The whites also sell for upwards of 50 dollars a bottle.
The winemakers of this country have perfected the craft of creating wines. They continually export over 80 percent of what they produce, mainly to the U.S., China, Canada and the U.K.
There are 700 wineries in the vineyards of New Zealand, and almost all of them are close to the coast. The protracted summers, long sunny days and cooler nights help the grapes grow slowly, making the climate ideal for complex wines.
Even their Sauvignon Blanc had attracted the attention of aficionados, and the reds established their own prestige as well.
This region at the northeastern tip of the South Island is concentrated with wineries. The wine focus in the area is mainly on Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. It’s quite rewarding to go wine tasting,and indulge in dining at the restaurants owned by the wineries that serve gourmet food.
Once satiated, head for the coastal waterways, peninsulas, the islands and the Queen Charlotte Walking Track that takes you to the coastal forests and coves. A full week in Marlborough will pass by quickly.
The region specialises in blended red, full bodied wines, similar to some of the best varieties from Bordeaux. They mainly grow Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Some of the areas are also dedicated to Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
This region on the east coast of the country’s North Island is not only popular among the wine buffs but also for the beaches, art deco architecture, the theatre in Napier and the Opera House in Hastings. In Napier, they also have one of the best aquariums in the world with an aquatic viewing tunnel!
This region has conditions similar to Burgundy in France—both in terms of climate and soil. Most of the 60 odd wineries in the region are family owned, small and exclusive. They prefer to call them boutique wineries, and they are known to produce some dessert wines as well. This doesn’t stop the wineries in the region from being known for premium quality Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay.
Enthusiasts follow the trail of the Ruamahanga river alongside which most of the wineries are located. In addition to seeing splendid landscapes, there’s an annual country music festival, and the Wairarapa wine harvest festival and ride.
This is another fabulous region in the country. Situated in the inner part of Otago in the South Island, the entire area is surrounded by mountain ranges that leads to the upper part of the Clutha River.
The region is also well known for excellent quality Pinot Noir and some varieties of white wine. Many travelers also visit Otago for its fruit orchards – mainly apricots and cherries during the season. Hiking trails, outdoor ice skating and the relics from the goldmines of the past attract many visitors.
In New Zealand it’s customary for the wineries to charge a small fee for wine tasting which is usually refunded once you make your purchase.
Picture: ShutterStock / ID: 108990056
If you’d like to read about more wineries in Oceania, check out another article on Australian wines.
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