Tucked away in a remote corner of the globe, a land like no other. Mountain ranges, glaciers, fjords and lakes cover the landscape making this one of the most stunningly scenic countries in the world. It’s worth the long journey! It’s a relative newcomer in wine terms and burst onto to the wine scene in the 1980s with its vibrant, zesty sauvignons.
On the North Island Auckland, Waheike, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Martinborough; and on the South Island Marlborough, Nelson, Canterbury and Otago. A big diversity of wine styles reflect the varied climate as you travel from north to south.
Sauvignon Blanc is the iconic variety and accounts for 62% of all plantings. Other main whites are Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. The dominant red variety is Pinot Noir, followed by Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
No vineyard is more than 80 miles from the ocean so the climate in New Zealand is firmly maritime. The Pacific and Tasman oceans moderate the weather, producing cooler summers and milder winters than would be expected at similar latitudes in Europe. Rainfall is typically high, but wine regions have developed in rain shadows on the east of the country. Wine regions are mostly located in free draining alluvial valleys, and the alluvial deposits are typically the local sandstone called greywacke, which makes up much of the mountainous spine of New Zealand.
Past Tours To New Zealand
How far would you go to explore exquisite wines? Eighteen of our intrepid wine lovers braved the long journey to literally the other side of the world. We discovered why Kiwi winemakers are being lauded by international experts, as we covered most of the main wine regions of the North and South Island. It’s not just about the wine, of course. We delighted in local Maori culture and history, took in the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, the Art Deco buildings of Napier and Hastings. We crossed the Marlborough Sound and had such fun in the adventure capital of Queenstown. We can’t wait to go back to ‘The Long White Cloud’ as the country is known by the Maoris.