Canterbury's fertile soils, warm summers and cold winters produce wines that are renowned for their intense flavours, richness and complex fruit.
Canterbury is a relatively new wine region with production first established in 1978. However, the region is already making waves for its aromatic cool climate wines.
Wineries and vineyards in Canterbury spread from Waimate in the north to Cheviot in the south, with the thriving regions of Waipara Valley and Banks Peninsula in between. The best part about a Canterbury wine experience is that almost all wineries can be reached after a short drive from Christchurch.
Waipara Valley, an hour’s drive north of Christchurch, is quietly being recognised as an unsung hero of New Zealand’s wine industry. The fast-growing sub-region has a reputation for producing racy reislings and rich pinot noirs. Cellar door tastings at celebrated wineries, such as Mud House Wine Company, Pegasus Bay, Greystone Wines and Muddy Water offer the chance to experience the distinct influences that soil and climate have on each variety of wine.
Boutique wineries and vineyards can also be found from Banks Peninsula, on the outskirts of Christchurch, sweeping northwards towards Waipara Valley and in the Waitaki Valley, located south of the Garden City.
A wine trail in the Canterbury is incomplete without the accompanying food experience. Kaikoura, the crayfish/ lobster capital of New Zealand, dishes up succulently fresh seafood – perfect with a local pinot gris or reisling. In Banks Peninsula and Akaroa, cafes make the most of the local produce and fresh catch, served with a distinctly French influence. Elsewhere in Canterbury, you’ll find towns filled with artisan producers who make the most of the local bounty.