New Zealand is home to roughly 700 wineries, with vines shrouding the continent from the tip of Northland to Central Otago in the south. The country produces less than one per cent of the world’s wine, but what they do yield is a great diversity of high quality drops.
A maritime climate and volcanic soils lend themselves perfectly to Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand’s champion grape – as well as Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Sparkling varietals and Pinot Noir and Riesling in the cooler climes of the south. Whether you're a novice or a certified oenophile, you can easily swirl, sniff and sip your way around the land of the long white cloud.
North Island wine regions
On the mid-eastern edge of the north island is Hawke’s Bay, holding rank as New Zealand’s oldest wine region. Dominated by red wine vineyards which produce much of the nation’s Cabernet Merlot, Hawke’s Bay is the nation’s second largest wine growing region. Widely regarded as the “food bowl” of New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay is home to more than 100 vineyards, 80 cellar doors, and plenty of restaurants celebrating local drops in the townships of Napier and Hastings.
The Wairarapa wine region at the North Island's southern end is dually renowned for its Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Tucked in the heart of the Wairarapa wine region just over an hour from New Zealand's capital city is the charming locale of Martinborough, a favourite weekend escape for wine-loving locals. Join a gourmet tour or get in quick and secure your tickets to the Toast Martinborough food and wine festival to discover the flavours of Wellington's doorstep wine region.
South Island wine regions
The Marlborough region proudly calls itself white wine country, with vineyards recognised as some of the best in the world. New Zealand’s most prestigious and productive wine growing area, Marlborough is located at the top of the South Island and is as blessed with beautiful scenery as it is with prime viticulture conditions. Drink in the vistas of the Marlborough Sounds after sampling an award-winning Sauvignon Blanc for the full Marlborough experience.
Known simply as “Central” by many, the Central Otago region is nestled deep in the southern end of New Zealand’s South Island. The world’s southernmost wine-producing region, Central Otago is famed for its Pinot Noir above all else, while aromatics such as Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer also make an appearance on the region's vines. Crisp whites such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc can also be found around Central and intro the Waipara region a little further north.
New Zealand breweries
If a golden ale is more your scene than a full-bodied red, you’re in luck! Not only do New Zealanders have the privilege of a prosperous wine industry, they also take their pints very seriously, placing importance on organic approaches and traditional methods when it comes to the art of brewing beer. NZ is a bubbling hub of craft beer, passionate brewers and beer festivals, with brews as diverse as its wines.
The sunny town of Nelson at the country’s geographical heart is hops-growing central, producing the essential ingredient that goes into making a fine brewski. The legacy of those early hops farmers of the 1800s lives on thanks to Nelson-based breweries like McCashin’s and Founders keeping the craft alive and well. Beer lovers would do well to join a guided tour or follow the Nelson Craft Beer Trail to see how the region lives up to its hops hype.
Some of the most popular breweries in New Zealand are the Tui Brewery in Wairarapa, Moa Brewery in Marlborough and industry giant Lion Nathan in Auckland. Then, of course, we have Wellington – the so-called craft beer capital of New Zealand (a title which is hotly contested by Nelson). While Wellington may have crafty breweries like Yeastie Boys, ParrotDog and Tuatara to its name, it’s beer presence is better felt at the pubs, beer gardens and ale houses that dot the downtown district.