Wines of New Zealand

New Zealand Wine MapNew Zealand’s spectacular wine is produced in ten major wine growing regions spread over 1,600 kilometers (990 mi). The wine culture of the islands can be traced back to colonial times. Surprisingly, the first successful winery was established in the year of 1851, by French Roman Catholic missionaries at Mission Estate in Hawke’s Bay. The wineries of New Zealand struggled to make a break through into world markets.  But that has changed in a hurry.

Red White
Merlot Sauvignon Blanc*
Sangiovese Chardonnay*
Cabernet Sauvignon Riesling
 Pinot Noir

* Major Varietals


King of Sauvignon Blanc

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand 2012

The herbaceous and tropical flavors of Sauvignon Blanc are much appreciated and desired. Making up 68% of the country’s wine production, Sauvignon Blanc is a delightful complement to sushi, seafood, shellfish, white fish, raw vegetables, and fresh salads. Best served at the temperature of 7° (45°F), it has a natural synergy with the savory tastes of, citrus, vinaigrette and tomato dressings. 

Though Sauvignon Blanc is known as the trademark wine of New Zealand, other wines can provide a seductive experience. Pinot Noir has seen a jump in growth over the last several years. In the past, the soil and climate of New Zealand was believed to be inappropriate for red grape types. In the cooler southern areas, St. Helena, Canterbury, was blessed to have been the first region to successfully grow Pinot Noir, soon followed by the whole of Canterbury. Famous Pinot Noir producers include Pegasus Bay, Waipara Springs, Muddy Water, Omihi Hills and Black Estate. The richness of New Zealand Pinot Noir blends naturally with savory dishes containing garlic and tomato creams; quail, turkey, and duck; fillet of New Zealand salmon, pork, veal, lamb or venison, all perfectly compliment this fragrant and complex wine.

Major Regions

  • Auckland
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Marlborough
  • Central Otago

Second to only Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay is also much loved.

The one grape that shares the strongest bond with the “Pacific Paradise” is by far Chardonnay. Though Chardonnay plantings, during the 1990’s, exceeded those of every other grape, it now only covers 9% of all wine production. Still, Chardonnay remains to be planted in every region, as the second, most preferred grape. An adventure for elegant and fruit-driven wine will take you from Marlborough to Gisporne, and even further north to Hawke’s Bay where you will find legendary wineries, and the biggest Chardonnay producers of the islands. New Zealand’s Chardonnay has a synergy with savory dishes such as chicken, veal, and rabbit, with creamy garlic or lemon based dressings. The Chardonnay is also naturally fabulous with the diverse seafood selection New Zealand has to offer.


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