The 10 Best Wineries in New Zealand - Gear Patrol

Wineries New Zealand South Island

About New Zealand / April 15, 2017

Wineries New ZealandNew Zealand's food and wine are almost designed for each other. For a small country, New Zealand has an impressive array of unique food and dining styles which are complemented by top quality wines.

Restaurants, Dining and Cuisine

New Zealand's 'Pacific Rim' cuisine style takes its inspiration from regions and countries such as Europe, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Polynesia, Japan and Vietnam. This unique blend of influences has created a mouth-watering range of flavours and food available from cafes and restaurants nationwide.

For dishes that have a distinctly New Zealand style look out for lamb, pork and venison; salmon, crayfish, Bluff oysters, paua (abalone), mussels and scallops; kumara (sweet potato); kiwifruit and tamarillo; and pavlova, our national dessert, made from meringue and lashings of fresh whipped cream topped with fresh fruit or berries.

While the main centres support elegant, silver-service restaurants, there are many excellent dining establishments from hotels through to the more relaxed cafe-bar dining. There is a wide variety of international food available including Japanese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Malaysian and Thai. There are more than 900 Asian restaurants throughout New Zealand.

Check out our Cuisine and Dining section.

While you are here, take the opportunity to discover more about New Zealand wines. Our white wines, particularly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, have achieved an international reputation for excellence-and the reds are catching up fast!

Wine and Wineries

New Zealand has long been famed for its stunning, unspoiled landscape. Equal to the international acclaim for its beauty is that for its fine wines. Climate, geography and human skill have combined to produce highly distinctive, premium quality wines, which are 'the riches of a clean, green land.'

New Zealand map of wine regionsIn the warmer and more humid northern regions of Northland, Auckland and Gisborne, Chardonnay might begin to be harvested in late February or early March while in Central Otago, the world's most southerly Chardonnay grapes may first be picked in mid to late April-a difference of six to seven weeks.

New Zealand is a country of contrasts with dense, native forest, snow-capped mountains and spectacular coastline. With wine growing regions spanning the latitudes of 36 to 45 degrees and covering the length of 1000 miles (1, 600 kilometres), grapes are grown in a vast range of climates and soil types, producing a diverse array of styles.

The northern hemisphere equivalent would run from Bordeaux (between the latitudes of 44 and 46 degrees) down to southern Spain.

New Zealand's temperate, maritime climate has a strong influence on the country's predominantly coastal vineyards. The vines are warmed by strong, clear sunlight during the day and cooled at night by sea breezes. The long, slow ripening period helps to retain the vibrant varietal flavours that make New Zealand wine so distinctive.

New Zealand's small population, distant location and agricultural economy have earned the country a 'clean, green' image. Visitors often describe it as 'an unspoiled paradise'. New Zealand's winemakers are determined to keep it this way.

Innovative practices in the vineyard and winery which deliver quality in a sustainable and environmental manner, ensure that New Zealand meets a growing world demand for wines that have been produced in a 'clean and green' fashion.

Northland Wine Region

New Zealand's first vines were planted in Northland in 1819, however winemaking almost died out here until a strong resurgence of interest in recent years. The region is now expanding rapidly, although it still rates as the country's smallest.

Grape growing is scattered over three districts: Kaitaia on the west coast in the far north, around the Bay of Islands on the northern east coast, and near Whangarei, Northland's largest city.

Northland typically experiences the country's warmest ripening conditions which explains the popularity of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, the region's three most widely planted grape varieties.

Vineyards are sited mainly on flats or gentle slopes. Soils vary throughout the region from shallow clay soils over sandy-clay subsoils to free-draining volcanic structures.

NORTHLAND WINERIES - Kaitaia, Whangarei

Auckland Wine Region

Henderson, Kumeu and Huapai to the northwest of Auckland's city centre, are the traditional winemaking districts of the Auckland region. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay are the most popular varieties here although Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and other white varieties are also planted.

Auckland's soils are mainly shallow clays over hard silty-clay subsoils or sandy loams. Vineyards are mostly planted in pockets of flat land on the drier east coast or in the shelter of western ranges.