The best New Zealand vineyards and wines
In recent years, New Zealand has come to rival the traditional Old World wine-making heavyweights, with a trademark rich and fruity offering that put the country firmly on the map in the 1990s.
Like the best of winemaking countries, there is not one wine variety that makes New Zealand famous. From the Pinot Noirs of Martinborough to Hawke's Bay's delectable Chardonnays, there is a lot here to satisfy any wine enthusiast. If your Kiwi adventure involves enjoying a tipple or two, these are the best vineyards to look out for on your travels and some tips about which wines to try while you are there.
Villa Maria Winery
Villa Maria operates on a strict ethos of sustainability and prides itself on creating award-winning wines while taking great care to reduce its carbon footprint.
There is an on-site cafe where you can explore how well the wines complement a meal, and over the summer months you might be lucky enough to enjoy some live music, making Villa Maria a treat for all the senses.
Te Whau Vineyard
Found on the dramatic hills of Waiheke Island, this vineyard has made a huge impact on the New Zealand winemaking scene despite its young age. Developed in the late 90s, Te Whau now boasts three staple wines: a sophisticated Syrah, a Chardonnay with a far-reaching reputation, and 'The Point' – a unique blend of Cabernet, Malbec, and Merlot.
The vineyard has an intimate restaurant that can accommodate up to 60 people. It's well worth a visit, as the views overlooking the island are incredible. Stop by the cellar door to get an exclusive taste of The Point; the traditional and loving process can be tasted with every sip.
Mission Estate Winery
Hawke's Bay is one of the world's premier wine-making regions, and nowhere is this more evident than at the Mission Estate Winery. Founded by French missionaries in 1851, this historic centre of viticulture is the oldest winery in New Zealand.
For the most passionate of wine enthusiasts, this winery offers a truly immersive experience, as you can extend your stay overnight. The accommodation is faithful to the historical roots of the vineyard, and the underground cellar tour gives you a real insight into how the art of winemaking has changed over time.
Nestled in Central Otago near Lake Wanaka, Rippon Vineyard offers an unbeatable view of land and water.
The combination of long hours of sunshine, rich soil, and warmth is so perfect it's any winemaker's dream – it results in rich and finessed Pinot Noirs that leave you in no doubt of their quality.
Come for the wine and stay for the view – the Southern Alps have never looked more majestic.
The husband-and-wife team behind the Neudorf Vineyards has a commitment to crafting the very best of each wine variety and this devotion has seen them through nearly 40 years of successful winemaking.
The Pinot Noir is delicate and elegant, with its taste enhanced by the rich history of the landscape. This is one of the finest reds in the Nelson region and a must-try for any visitor.
Hans Herzog Winery
The Hans Herzog Winery has a very individual philosophy amongst its Kiwi compatriots: this winery has a commitment to marrying Old and New World wines, using traditional methods to create new and modern flavours.
These wines undergo a lengthy aging process, with the focus on quality over quantity. The Merlot Cabernet is made in a Bordeaux style and known as the 'Spirit of Marlborough', giving an indication of how renowned these intense flavour profiles are. You can sample three of Hans' wines during the tour, we recommend you make the Merlot Cabernet one of them.