Follow Your Heart Along New Zealand’s Best Wine Trails

New Zealand boasts some of the world’s best wine regions, each with its own unique charm and character. From the stunning landscapes of Marlborough to the rugged beauty of Central Otago, there’s something for every wine lover to explore. Many of these regions are conveniently located near popular tourist attractions, making combining wine tasting with sightseeing easy.

With its cool climate and diverse terroir, New Zealand is a paradise for wine growers, producing some of the world’s most sought-after wines, so you are guaranteed the perfect combination of spectacular scenery AND spectacular wines. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or a casual wine enthusiast, you’ll cherish the memories created on your New Zealand Wine Holiday or Honeymoon. Be sure to add these top wine regions to your New Zealand Wineries itinerary.

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Marlborough

Queen Charlotte Sound, Marlborough
Queen Charlotte Sound, Marlborough

At the top of New Zealand’s South Island, Marlborough is a bit of a go-to for wineries. And for good reason. With warm days and cool nights providing the grapes here with a unique maturing environment, this magnificent region is known for its vibrant and crisp wines – Sauvignon Blanc-lovers, this is the place for you.

Top wine spots to check out while in the area? With 30 sensational wineries within a 24-kilometre circuit (hire a bike for an unforgettable cellar door-hopping experience), the small township of Renwick is a must-visit. Or, for something totally luxurious, treat yourselves to a seafood-and-wine cruise along the pristine Marlborough Sounds. You’ll spot island sanctuaries, secluded bays, historic sights, dolphins and seals while feasting on fresh salmon and mussels paired with world-class Sauvignon Blanc – a wonderful way to pass the time, no?

Nelson

Cycle Tour NZ Winery
Cycling in Upper Moutere, Nelson Tasman (courtesy he Gentle Cycling Company)

Nelson, located at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, is a hidden gem in the world of wine. With its sheltered coastlines, rugged mountains, and long sandy beaches, it’s no wonder that the region is known for producing outstanding Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and aromatics. While it may not have the quantity of other regions, Nelson’s 42 mostly small family wineries and 27 grape growers are dedicated to producing high-quality wines. In fact, Nelson may be able to lay claim to being the aromatic varieties capital in terms of quality. The region also boasts a vibrant artistic and café culture, making it a perfect destination for wine lovers and art enthusiasts alike. The historical town of Nelson, situated on the banks of Tasman Bay, is the centre of the region and where the first vines were planted by early settlers. With its impressive mix of emerging varieties and dedication to craft beers, Nelson is a must-visit for any wine connoisseur.

Central Otago

Otago Central Rail Trail
Otago Central Rail Trail

Further down the South Island is another acclaimed spot, Central Otago. Here, early settlers planted the region’s first vines in 1864 – needless to say, wine production is an art the locals have now mastered. Pinot Noir is the drop of choice in Central Otago, with some of New Zealand’s best being produced here. But if you’re more of a white wine-drinker, there’s also plenty of exquisite Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling for you to enjoy. And you really should.

To experience the region’s best for yourselves, start your gourmet adventure by visiting the majestic Lake Wanaka and driving (or cycling) through to Cromwell and Bannockburn. Along the way, you’ll discover a slew of fabulous wineries, including Rippon Vineyard (Wanaka), Mt Difficulty (Bannockburn) and Quartz Reef (Cromwell). 

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Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island

Arguably one of New Zealand’s most iconic and beautiful spots, Waiheke Island on the North Island is brimming with romance. Just a 40-minute scenic ferry ride from Auckland, this picture-perfect island is home to 20 wineries, plus a brilliant collection of renowned restaurants with water views. Red wines dominate the wine list here, with Merlot and Syrah the most popularly produced varietals available. For something a little lighter, there’s also plenty of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris to sample.

What makes Waiheke Island such an outstanding wine destination is its matching of top-quality wine with terrific dining and breathtaking views. Ticking all three boxes, Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant will impress couples with its manicured gardens, wine tastings and degustation menu. Other incredible options include Cable Bay Vineyards, Stonyridge Vineyard, Te Motu Vineyard and Casita Miro. 

Seeking dreamy New Zealand accommodation? We’ve got just the place

Image credits: www.facebook.com/Mudbrickvineyard/, Kieran Scott and Miles Holden

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