Although latecomers to the wine making scene, New Zealand is home to an impressive number of both family-run and internationally renowned wineries. In fact, there are over 700 wineries scattered across the country’s north and south islands. Whilst New Zealand’s north island enjoys a warmer climate, the south island boasts cooler temperatures allowing the country to produce anything from a rich Montepulciano to a fruity Pinot Gris. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best wineries in New Zealand, so all you have to do is sit back and relax with a fantastic glass of New Zealand wine in hand.
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The Top 12 Wineries to Visit In New Zealand
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This boutique winery specializes in high quality, small-batch wine, meaning every sip you take is truly one of a kind. Reminiscent of a vineyard you'd find in Southern France, the estate is adorned with beautifully weathered wooden beams, red brick paths and an abundance of climbing ivy. Couple this chic environment with stunning views over the vineyards and across the ocean, and you may just have found the perfect winery. Don’t forget to try the deli platters or wood-fired pizzas designed to complement their seasonal wine selection.
Te Whau Vineyard
Situated on Waiheke Island, Te Whau vineyard offers visitors panoramic views across the Hauraki Gulf and over to Auckland city. Although Te Whau produces a wide variety of wine, it's best known for the five-star Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Celebrated as much for its food as its fantastic wine, make sure to head into the cosy terrace area for a tasty meal made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
Opened in 1896, Te Mata is considered to be one of New Zealand’s oldest family-run wineries. It's reputation speaks for itself, having earned international recognition for a huge number of both its red and white varieties. The winery claims the secret to its success is in its hand-harvested grapes that are all fermented, packaged and labelled on-site. Although it's not considered to be one of the most scenic wineries in New Zealand, it is incredibly popular, so book a tour in advance if you are planning to visit.
Church Road Vineyard
Named after one of New Zealand’s pioneer winemakers, Tom McDonald, Church Road Vineyard boasts a wine-producing history that dates back over 150 years. As one of Hawke Bay’s most awarded wineries, Church Road Vineyard is highly praised for its high-quality Bordeaux style red. While you're here why not stop by for a cheeseboard of local favorites or choose a lovingly prepared dish off the al la carte menu matched with a glass of Church Road wine.
Ata Rangi Vineyard
Although this winery opened as late as 1980, Ata Rangi Vineyard has firmly established itself in New Zealand’s wine market thanks to its internationally acclaimed Pinot Noir. Despite its worldwide fame, visiting the winery and its small cellar remains an intimate experience. Call ahead to book a tour of the grounds held by the husband and wife team behind this fantastic winery.
Martinborough Vineyard was one of the original four vineyards in the Wairarapa wine region. Boasting a similar climate to the renowned Burgundy region in France, the vineyard is dedicated to producing crisp Chardonnays, rich Pinot Noirs and punchy Riesling wines. Visit Martinborough Vineyard to learn about their artisanal wine-producing techniques, efforts for land preservation and to taste the fantastic fruits of their labor.
Made famous when it produced the Marlborough region’s first-ever Sauvignon Blanc in the 1970s, Brancott Estate has since gone on to win numerous internationally renowned wine awards. Although its Sauvignon Blanc is the most recognized, the estate also produces fantastic Pinot Noir. Make sure to book ahead to secure a wine tasting which offers a historical as well as gastronomical journey through the story and life of Brancott Estate.
Saint Clair Family Estate Vineyards
No wine tour of New Zealand is complete without a sample of the world-famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and the Saint Clair Family Estate Vineyard is considered to produce the best of the best. More of a traditional-style winery than others, expect stunning views over the vineyard and an extensive tasting cellar to sample their delicious wares. For those that have more time, consider booking a table at the onsite restaurant that is set among the vines and delivers excellent dishes produced from locally-sourced ingredients.
This family-owned, boutique winery is perfect for anyone that wants to live the high life for a couple of hours. Whilst the knowledgeable staff provide informative tours, including tastings of their products, the winery’s chic dining room offers pristine dishes coupled with only the best of their wines. Having won the award for New Zealand’s best winery restaurant seven times, this is a must-visit for anyone exploring the region of Canterbury.
Tucked away into the Omihi Hills, Greystones Wines is yet to be discovered by so many. This winery prides itself on producing 100% certified organic wines, the best of which include their Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and rose varieties. Why not walk or cycle off those wine tastings with an adventure on the Hurunui bike trail that winds through the vineyards picturesque grounds.
Lake Hayes Wines
Lake Hayes gathers its grapes from one of the best grape-growing areas in Central Otago. Maintaining a traditional approach to winemaking, Lake Hayes Wines finish with a fresh fruity edge whilst upholding a balanced and sophisticated body. Although a relatively simple setup, Lake Hayes is well worth a visit to simply taste their fantastically crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
Specialising in just two varieties of wine, Amisfield is a winery that has perfected its Pinot Noir and aromatic white wine varieties. Being just a twenty-minute drive from the center of Queenstown, it's the closest vineyard to the popular town and can easily be easily accessed on a day trip. Relax with a glass of wine whilst overlooking the beautiful Lake Hayes and the Remarkables mountain range.
While the country is rather small, it's impressive just how many quality vineyards are dotted around the countryside here. If you're a lover of wine, there's hardly a better place to visit in the southern hemisphere than New Zealand, its small size makes getting from vineyard to vineyard even easier and best of all, most of them are accompanied by the stunning scenery the area is well known for.