Your guide to wine tasting in southern New Zealand

New Zealand may be famous for its sheep, milk, hobbits and weird accents, but it’s also one of the world’s premier wine regions with some of the finest wineries to visit. New Zealand has plenty of reasons to visit – its main city, Auckland, was even named Lonely Planet’s best city to visit in 2022.


About two-thirds of the wine grown in New Zealand is Sauvignon Blanc and most of it is exported, mainly to the US, UK and Australia. Many critics claim that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best in the world.

viticulture in new zealand

New Zealand has quite a varied landscape and therefore has a number of distinct wine regions. New Zealand is best known for its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and then its Pinot Noir.

  • Famous for: Sauvignon Blanc

Wine regions are found over most of New Zealand – the largest region being Marlborough in the north of the South Island. They range from the sup-tropical northern part of the North Island to the southern part of the South Island. The vineyards are found as far south as Otago and are among the southernmost in the world.


  • Southernmost: New Zealand has some of the southernmost vineyards

New Zealand’s wine sector has boomed in recent decades and its wines have quickly gained international acclaim. Today, New Zealand’s wine regions attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world as people flock to see what it’s like in this remote South Pacific country.

Related: Visit the majestic wine roads of Cyprus for wine lovers

The Classic New Zealand Wine Route

To see some of New Zealand’s best wines, consider following the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. Along the way you will see stunning New Zealand scenery, forest parks, nightlife and of course the best of New Zealand’s wine regions.


This wine route stretches from Hawke’s Bay in the North Island to Marlborough in the South Island by taking the inter-island ferry.

  • Itinerary: Hawke’s Bay to Marlborough

The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail starts in Napier and Hastings. One should spend the first night in either town and spend the day with a wine map – and even sneak into the gannet colony on Cape Kidnapers if the weather permits.

The next day, head to Martinborough and sample some of its 20 wineries (most are accessible by bike and on foot from the town square). It is also home to some of New Zealand’s best Pinot Noir.


  • Martinborough: Home to some of New Zealand’s finest Pinot Noir
  • Point: Discover the Stonehenge Aotearoa – A replica of the English Stonehenge

After that, head south to Marlborough taking the Inter Islander ferry through the scenic Marlborough Sounds. If you have time, it’s worth spending a day in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, en route.

After one of the most scenic ferry journeys in the world you will be in the small harbor town of Picton, feel free to spend another day there exploring the Marlborough Sounds and attractions otherwise you will be just above of New Zealand’s premier wine region. of Malborough.


  • Malborough: Produces 60% of New Zealand wines

Marlborough’s main town is Blenheim and there are around 20 or more wineries close to the town. Sauvignon blanc is the main note variety here. After that, head into the heart of the island to Central Otago, near Queenstown, and discover New Zealand’s southernmost alpine wineries.

Related: These Vineyards Are Hailed As The Best In The French Alps And You Should Visit Them

Take a wine tour in New Zealand’s Marlborough wine region

Most tours in New Zealand are self-guided and self-guided. But Marlborough alone is home to over 60% of New Zealand’s wine production, and it’s well worth booking a visit to see its over 100 wineries. During the tour you will immerse yourself in New Zealand wines and learn a lot about the country itself.

Marlborough Tour Company offer a range of tours throughout the region and an example of one of their full day wine tasting tours is their Blend Premium Winemaker tour. During this visit, guests become winemakers for a day.

The tour begins with a walk through an organic vineyard to the winery. One will see the wine production process along the way to end up in the wine bottle. Guests receive an assembly tutorial from the experts and can then assemble a bottle of their own Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Underline: Blend your own bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Noir
  • Cost: 370 NZD (240 USD)
  • Age restriction: 18 and over
  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Understand : Pickup and return

After that, it’s time for a private tasting of the wines from the cellar with a charcuterie platter with local cheeses.

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