“A bottle of wine begs to be shared; I have never met a miserly wine lover.” – Clifton Fadiman
Do you love wine? Exquisite dining? Intensive retail therapy? Incredible views? All of the above? Then New Zealand is the perfect destination for your next vacation.
The land of the Kiwi (Native New Zealanders), is home to the most world renowned wine and welcoming natives who love to divulge in the fascinating history with their visitors. The combination of temperate climates, nutrient-rich soil, and innovative enthusiasm yields New Zealand to be one of the world leaders in wine production. Studies have recently shown that, in moderation, a glass of red wine has several health benefits, making New Zealand just what the doctor ordered! If you’re planning a wine tour we have compiled a list of the most iconic places and wineries to visit in New Zealand.
New Zealand is divided into two parts – The North and South Island, both enriched with stunning views and history just waiting for you to explore.
Auckland the “City of Sails” sits atop 53 inactive volcanoes and between two largely popular harbors, making it the largest city in New Zealand. The lifestyle is top-rated for the diverse dining culture, world renowned wine, high-end retail designers, street markets, and the thrilling nightlife. The wine region is nestled along vine-covered hills and the magnificent ocean. Waiheke Island, a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, offers several tours and tastings that perfectly illustrate why it is known as “the island of wine.” After you’ve explored the gorgeous wine region, hit the streets with the City Explorer Bus for a “hop on, hop off” narrative sightseeing tour. If you’re looking for something a bit more leisurely, The Wilderness Experience and the Auckland Harbor Cruise are fantastic alternatives. The Wilderness Experience showcases the Waitakere Ranges with stunning views of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean; the eco-tour takes you to the uniquely fascinating black sand beaches and lush rainforest areas. End your day with the Auckland Harbor Tour that cruises around the Devonport Naval Base to Westhaven Marina with picturesque views and impressive yachts.
Napier, the Art Deco City, located on the east coast of the North Island, is world-famous for its jazz age architecture and is home to the world's largest Gannet Colony. The region has a wealth of natural attractions, beaches, and landscapes – many of which are protected within historic parks and reserves. The pleasant and settled Mediterranean climate is why the region is so well known for producing great wine and food. Hawke’s Bay, Napier’s wine region, has been crafting wine for over 100 years, making it the oldest of the New Zealand wine regions. Over 80 per cent of the country’s plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes are grown here, earning the region an established reputation for producing high quality red wines. Hawke's Bay has over 80 wineries, 40 with cellar doors, which offer tastings and local food. We encourage you to join the local, professional guides who are knowledgeable in the scenery and history of the area to personally guide you through the wineries.
Martinborough is burrowed between hills on the either side of the island, with a strong background in traditional farming. The small town way of living and culture give the village unique character. You can stroll through vineyards, dine at flavorful restaurants, or unwind with some retail therapy. The islands only “true” wine village can be experienced in a personalized chauffeur-driven one day tour through the unique village where you will learn the history of the town and how the vineyards came to be. You will be served a gourmet wine matched lunch in the highly rated vineyard restaurant. Afterwards, you will venture through two wineries; one quaint winery in Martinborough, and one small family run vineyard. By the end of the tour you will have learned all about the area’s wine history, tasted delicious wines and oils, and will have a solid understanding to aid you in wine purchasing for the future.
Marlborough, New Zealand’s leading wine region, located at the north-eastern corner of the South Island, is one of the premium wine regions of the world. Marlborough, draws international acclaim for its award winning Sauvignon Blanc. In the span of just a few decades winemakers have crafted exhilarating flavors in many different wine styles, yielding a variety of authentic and delicious wines. The bright, sunny skies and typically dry climate is what makes Marlborough so successful in wine production, with roughly 150 wineries, 650 grape harvesters, and over 2,300,000 acres planted in grapes.
The annual Marlborough Wine Festival takes place in February each year – Saturday, February 13th, 2016 (18+ only). Enjoy live music from top New Zealand artists, tasty food, premium wine, and mingle with fellow wine connoisseurs. *Limited availability – book in advance.
The Nelson wine region, located at the top of the South Island, is amongst the countries smaller wine regions; you will be able to visit most of its wineries in a single day. The region concentrates on grape varieties suited to cooler conditions, with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir accounting for most of the grapes grown. The Nelson Tasman region is blessed with three national parks within its boundaries. The popular Abel Tasman National Park entices visitors with its sheltered coastline and crystal clear turquoise waters. In addition to the great seafood, wine and beer, and more than 300 working artists and galleries, the region prides itself on its great outdoor environment with plenty of hiking, kayaking, cruising and biking options.
The Central Otago Wine Trail, New Zealand’s favorite visitor destination in Queenstown, is set perfectly on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, and is surrounded by majestic mountains and breathtaking rivers. It is suitable for first time wine tasters or wine connoisseurs. The region offers of a huge range of sightseeing and thrill-seeking activities to showcase the land’s stunning scenery & natural beauty. If you’re looking for a little adventure amidst your wine tour, this is your stop. You have a variety of exciting adventures to choose from – bungy jumping, winter skiing, sky diving, canyon swimming, horseback riding, river rafting, and moderate to extremely challenging hiking/biking trails – making it a “must-stop” for a break from the over indulgences.
*Fun Fact: If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan you may notice some of the middle-earth locations.
In addition to all of the fascinating wine tours, we offer a variety of customizable itineraries to visit and fall in love with New Zealand. If you’re interested in getting to know and tasting the world’s best wine let us book your trip today!