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Introduction to New Zealand Wines – Part Two

nz vines


Just north of capital city Wellington, at the Southern tip of the North Island, the Wairarapa region is notably home to the town of Martinborough. Martinborough is perhaps less famous than Central Otago, however it is known to produce similarly excellent Pinot Noir. Martinborough  wineries, including Martinborough Vineyards, Palliser Estate and Ata Rangi.


central otago vines

Marlborough is the power house of New Zealand wine, driving the commercial operations and setting a unique style that is known globally. While the zesty, fresh and fruit-forward Sauvignon Blanc is synonymous with Marlborough, there are equally good Pinot Noir, Riesling and other varieties doing well here. Several wineries have experimented in a fumé blanc style, such as Cloudy Bay’s Te Koko, an oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc.


Just adjacent to Marlborough, the region of Nelson is largely overshadowed by its neighbour. Producing much smaller quantities, and specialising in Chardonnay and other aromatic varieties like Pinot Gris, Nelson has some very fine wine that attracts the worlds attention. Neudorf winery is a notable producer.


A large region stretching from East Coast of the South Island to the Alps, bordering Marlborough and Central Otago at the North and South. This cool climate region excels at Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Pinot Gris. The Waipara Valley has been at the forefront of great production, with a temperate microclimate. Pyramid Valley is based here, a winery that lead the way in terms of skin-contact white wines and natural wine production in New Zealand.

Central Otago

central otago bottles

New Zealand’s most southerly wine region, with a number of valleys protected from the ubiquitous coastline, creating micro-climates of the only continental character in the country. Production is dominated by Pinot Noir, which typically is made in a generous, fruit-driven style. The popularity of Central Otago Pinot Noir has driven international interest in red wine from New Zealand.

Explore our other favourite wine regions of the world, as well as those across Australia.

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Kieran Clarkin
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