Wine Tasting in Paradise – Exploring New Zealand’s Wine Regions

Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand wine on the map and can be found throughout its production regions; however, their most celebrated wine comes from Central Otago’s vineyards – located in one of the world’s southernmost regions.

New Zealand offers numerous wine regions that make great destinations, so the ideal way to discover them is by flying into Napier or Hastings and renting a car to visit local vineyards.


Marlborough is widely-renowned as a wine region for its Sauvignon Blancs. This distinction can be attributed to Marlborough Vineyard’s ideal climate and their grape variety known for being “piercing,” “thrilling,” and “electric.”

This region of California is graced with mountains and glistening lakes, punctuated with farm stands selling seasonal fruit and local produce. You’ll also find world-class dining rooms ranging from elegant hotel dining rooms to outdoor spaces offering scenic bay views or overlooking bush-clad hills – many featuring views from elegant dining rooms in city hotels or overlooking bays or hills covered in native bush. Furthermore, its pleasant climate attracts top chefs whose technical culinary abilities shine in the dishes they craft for this region.

Sauvignon Blanc may be the star, but other varietals are flourishing as well. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling have become increasingly popular; furthermore, the region has established an excellent reputation for Methode Traditionelle wines.

Marlborough offers an abundance of wineries to explore, from big-name brands to boutique producers. Many cellar doors also provide food pairing options to go along with their wines – from fine dining experiences to cafes serving fresh seafood and local produce. One such establishment in Marlborough that stands out is Frank’s Oyster Bar & Eatery where guests can sample freshly shucked oysters as part of an eclectic menu that includes both classic dishes as well as trendy options.

Hawke’s Bay

East Island Region of New Zealand appears as though it were cut out of the map and is perhaps most famous for the Art Deco town of Napier, its amazing wines, and long narrow ocean beaches. As New Zealand’s oldest and second most productive wine region, it also renowned for its unique terroir – an all-encompassing combination of soil, climate, and location that results in premium wines in many styles.

Vineyards can be found scattered between Napier and Hastings, producing quality wines with unique characteristics like Te Awanga Chardonnay, Bordeaux blends from Bridge Pa and Gimblett Gravels, Esk Valley Syrah and Crownthorpe Sauvignon Blanc to name just a few.

Winery tours offer an ideal way to explore this region’s vineyards, each one boasting its own story and offering something different. There’s sure to be something suitable for every wine enthusiast whether that means an intimate guided meander, luxury helicopter tour, or relaxing day tour on board a winery van – there is sure to be one out there just waiting to be explored!

Hawke’s Bay offers truly unforgettable winery experiences and boasts world-class wines, making it an exceptional wine destination. Being chosen as part of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network speaks volumes for this region’s dedication to excellence and proves that Hawke’s Bay’s wines can compete with those from other wine producing regions worldwide.


Gisborne is New Zealand’s easternmost wine region, and one of its most beautiful spots. Here is where Maori migration first made landfall; Captain James Cook first set foot here as well. Gisborne offers pastoral rolling hills, forests and beaches, providing visitors with an idyllic coastal environment.

This region of New Zealand is famous for its Chardonnay production, but also has earned high acclaim for Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer production. There are also numerous boutique wineries with charming roadside cellar doors that showcase traditional New Zealand hospitality and charm.

Gisborne wines stand out from those produced elsewhere in New Zealand due to its diverse topography and climate. Vineyards can be found along riverbanks with silty soil mixed with clay soil as well as on lowland plains with heavier clay content, and several rivers, including Waipaoa, provide water sources that enable Gisborne winemakers to craft balanced wines.

Gisborne is famous for both wine and craft beer production. Sunshine Brewing Company stands out among them all with innovative blends like Double Happy, Young Nick’s and Czar Bomb available. Additionally, there is even a heritage range to meet any traditionalist’s preferences. A visit to Tairawhiti Museum should also not be missed when in Gisborne; here you’ll see Taonga (objects of great worth from Ngati Porou tribe).

Central Otago

Central Otago is New Zealand’s southernmost wine region, boasting stunning mountain peaks and glacial lakes created from receding prehistoric glaciers. This cool and dry region produces wines known for their intensity and structure – particularly Pinot Noirs from Central Otago wineries located alongside lakes or mountains that allow visitors to take in all this spectacular natural beauty first-hand through wine tasting rooms with views over either lake or mountainside views.

Central Otago wines are world renowned, reflecting their place. Pinot Noir is the main grape variety here and typically provides complex, warm forest floor, dark berry and clove-like spice flavours complemented by gravelly minerality and structured tannins. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay varieties also exist here with the latter producing elegant wines with poise.

Central Otago wine region boasts several wineries with inns onsite that make an ideal place for visitors to relax after exploring its wines, offering luxury accommodations onsite or nearby. AirBnb is another option, while there are several upscale hotels (vineyard- and other-based) providing convenient bases from which to explore these wine regions.

Central Otago wine region comprises multiple sub-regions. These include Cromwell basin towns such as Bannockburn, Lowburn and Wanaka Road in Cromwell; Alexandra Basin with its rugged schist outcrops in Naseby in the south and Clyde in the north; Gibbston is the largest sub-region and where most of the winery cellar doors can be found;