New Zealand is renowned around the world for its wines. Its unique blend of soil, climate and water and its people’s pioneering spirit and commitment to quality means every glass of Kiwi wine is something special. Some wineries are especially worth a visit for their unique locations and character, and these places should be on every wine lover’s bucket list.Search Flights To New Zealand
The Highest Winery
At 450m above sea level, Ladybird Hill is New Zealand’s highest winery. It was also the first to plant grapevines in Omarama – deep in the South Island’s Mackenzie Country – about 20 years ago. It now produces some of the region’s best cold-climate wines. Pinot is a specialty.
Ladybird Hill’s tranquil Tuscan-style restaurant has rustic views and caters for everyone, with fine dining and casual meals available. There’s a cosy fire in winter and, in summer, you can dine in shaded comfort under a willow tree.
A scenic walk through the vineyard leads to the top of Ladybird Hill, where you can drink in views of the surrounding land.
Most Remote Vineyard
Waitaria Bay Estate in the Marlborough Sounds is one of the most isolated places in New Zealand.
It’s tucked into the narrow and windy Kenepuru Rd, which winds through the land jutting out into the Sounds; getting here is a hike, but it’s worth it.
Named for the red deer raised along with the grapevines, this boutique vineyard by the sea produces traditional, hand-crafted wines that are grown organically. Even your most discerning wine buff friends will love it. Waitaria Bay wine is sold nationally and also now in the US.
Te Whau Vineyard and Restaurant on Waiheke Island is one of New Zealand’s smallest wineries.
The picturesque island an hour’s ferry ride from Auckland is renowned for its superb red wines, and Te Whau mostly grows red varieties for its Bordeaux blend, “The Point”. Te Whau doesn’t buy grapes from other vineyards, so taste a drop here and you can be guaranteed it’s the real stuff. Four different vintages are available for tasting and purchase.
While you’re here, tour the vineyard or dine at the restaurant on the top level. This features fresh New Zealand/Pacific Rim cuisine and – of course – an excellent wine list. It has spectacular views of Waiheke and Rangitoto Islands and features a wine bar/tasting room facility. It was voted Auckland’s best rural restaurant in the Metro/Audi Awards from 2008-10 and again in 2013.
The Northernmost Vineyard
Welcome to Karikari Estate, New Zealand’s northernmost vineyard and winery. Nestled on Northland’s stunning Karikari Peninsula, the vineyard looks over rolling pastures farmland to the top of New Zealand. The peninsula’s unique climate and soils combine to produce full-bodied and distinctive wines. Karikari Estate is known for its chardonnay, pinot, merlot, syrah and tannant.
Its wines have won many awards and captivate anyone who samples them.
Karikari’s cellar door and café overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the North Cape of New Zealand. Whether it’s a tasting, a meal, or a weekend experience, Karikari Estate Vineyard and Winery is an experience to savour and enjoy. You’ll love it.
The Southernmost Vineyard
Black Ridge Winery claims to be New Zealand’s – and the world’s – southernmost vineyard. There’s been debate over this, though, with some wine writers arguing Vina Canata in Patagonia, Chile actually takes the title. But if you compare latitude and longitude locations, apparently Black Ridge is the lower of the two.
This vineyard lies on Central Otago’s southern edge, near Alexandra. Its cellar door is a small custom-built room attached to the winery, and a furnished outdoor area means you can enjoy fantastic views up to the rocky, north-facing hillside dotted with pine trees and lined with rows of old vines.
Verdun Burgess and Sue Edwards planted Black Ridge’s first vines in 1981 and are still at the helm today. They sell pinot noir, gewürztraminer, riesling and chardonnay and, unusually for Central Otago, a cabernet sauvignon. Make sure you taste the pinot noir and riesling, which are both full of personality.
Most Awarded Winery
Villa Maria has been New Zealand’s most awarded winery for more than 30 years. Its website features an impressive list of medal wins and international titles, including New Zealand Winery of the Year – Wine Magazine (China, 2012), New World Winery of the Year – Wine Enthusiast Magazine (the US, 2007) and New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year – International Wine and Spirit Competition (UK, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009).
Villa Maria has also been New Zealand Wine Company of the Year 12 times in 15 years, according to Winestate (AUS 2012). Its gold medals include Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay and Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay, both in 2013, and Private Bin East Coast Pinot Gris (2014).
The Oldest Winery
The world has Mission Estate to thank for really starting the wine industry in New Zealand. Established in Hawke’s Bay in 1851 by a group of French missionaries, it is the country’s oldest and has quite a reputation for its award-winning, uniquely Kiwi wines.
Housed in an elegantly restored seminary building with sweeping views of Napier, Mission Estate offers visitors a year-round wine experience. A visit to its cellar door provides an opportunity to try the extensive range of wines and there’s even a twice-daily historic tour. You get the impression this place takes wine seriously; even its website is traditional, asking for visitors’ birthdates – proof they’re of drinking age – before allowing them entry to its hallowed pages.
The popular Mission restaurant serves lunch or dinner every day, and the on-site chapel is a sought-after wedding and conference venue.
The Easternmost Wineries
On the most eastern tip of New Zealand, the Gisborne region produces some of the best white wines in New Zealand. Of all of New Zealand’s wine regions, Gisborne is one of the oldest and has the third-largest vineyard area; its more-than-2000ha of vines represent six percent of the country’s vineyard area. It’s easy to fill a few days here doing nothing but visiting vineyards, making the region a wine-lover’s dream.
Featured image by reddeerwine.comCheap Flights To New Zealand