New Zealand Wine Growing Regions

New Zealand has a variety of wine growing regions, each exhibiting a great variety in climate as well as terrain. The differences in climate may be illustrated by the variation in the harvesting dates of Chardonnay. When you go to the warmer and more humid northern regions of the country such as Gisborne, Auckland and Northland, Chardonnay might be harvested in late February or early March while in Central Otago, which is home to the world’s most southerly Chardonnay, the grapes may be picked in mid to late

April which amounts to a difference of 6-7 weeks.


The Wairarapa wine-growing region of New Zealand is also located in Wellington which is one of the country’s smallest sub-regions. They include Gladstone, Masterton, Opaki and Martinborough. Martineborough was the native area which was used for careful and scientific study way back in the 1970’s. The soil and climate of the region was identified to be perfectly suited to the cultivation of Pinot Noir.

Because of this, several of the vineyards which were established in that region are older than the counterparts in the rest of Wairarapa. There are subtle differences which are seen in the wines from the South of Wairarapa (and that includes Martinborough), which have more maritime influences to those grown further north.


Martinborough is a small wine village that is situated at the foot of New Zealand’s North Island in the South Wairarapa. This is just an hour and a half away from Wellington which is the capital city. The mixture of geology, climate, topography and ultimately human effort, has led to this region becoming one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions even though it is small in size.

Around less than 2% of the country’s wine production is grown in Martinborough but in shows and competitions, it definitely rates more highly. The local winegrowers organization says that even though it is small in production terms, it significantly contributes to the country’s quality winemaking reputation.

The vineyards here in Martinborough are essentially shielded from the elements by steep mountains and the growing season from flowering to harvest time is among the longest in the country of New Zealand. The natural, breezy conditions control vine vigor and consequently creates lower yields of grapes with greater intensity. This genuine climate, coupled with a long, dry autumn, gives the climate and terrain ideal conditions for growing Pinot Noir as well as other varietals such as Syrah, Pinot Gris and Riesling.

There are a small number of wineries which produce Cabernet Franc and they do so with a high quality of standard. Most of the wineries are located on the region’s alluvial river terraces which is quite near the township.

The Martinborough wineries are quite small as discussed earlier and they are typically family-owned. Nevertheless, they are still able to focus on producing quality wines rather than the quantity of wines. The relatively small yields give the winemakers the chance to devote themselves to handcrafting superior wines that they can be proud of.

Wine Travel – GuideTo.Com

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