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 cuisine draws inspiration from the traditional kitchens of France and Italy, as well as the exotic dishes of Asia and the Pacific Rim. Wine styles have evolved to compliment this extensive menu. There are bright and zesty wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling for fresh and subtly spiced dishes, while complex, mellow Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends and Pinot Noir offer a timeless marriage with the classical dishes of Europe.

 

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.

 

Hawkes Bay is the country's second largest region and has a respected 100 year heritage in wine. The varied topography and wide range of soil types, from fertile silty loams to free-draining shingle, produces a considerable range of wine styles in this large region.

 

Central Otago is New Zealand's highest and the world's most southerly wine region. Wines with altitude is the slogan of one winemaker. It is also New Zealand's only true continental climate with greater extremes of daily and seasonal temperatures than are found in any of the country's maritime regions.

 

Pinot Noir is the region's most planted and certainly most acclaimed grape variety. The success of Martinborough Pinot Noir has to a large extent driven the rapid development of this very dynamic and quality-focused region.

 

Canterbury consists of two major wine areas; the plains around the city of Christchurch, where grapes were first planted in the late 1970s, and the more recently developed valley area of Waipara, an hour's drive north of Christchurch.

 

When the first Marlborough vines were planted in 1973 few people predicted that the region would become New Zealand's largest and best known wine growing area in little more than 20 years.

 

Nelson winemakers specialize and excel in grape varieties that respond to cooler growing conditions. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir account for over 80% of the region's vineyard area.