The South Island is world famous for quality wine, drawing visitors from all over the globe. When planning your wine tasting trip in any of these regions, you’ll be spoiled for choice. That’s why we’ve decided to take out the hassle and create a list of our highlights. Here are our favourite South Island Wineries. Enjoy!
Nelson is one of New Zealand’s smallest wine regions. However we all know that sometimes good things come in small packages, and this is no exception. The clay-based soils and shelter from western mountains make for a perfect wine-making region.
Wineries to visit
- Brightwater Vineyards: With a champion Pinot Noir at the Air New Zealand awards and a welcoming attitude, Brightwater Vineyards is a great place to stop during your wine tour. They produce a variety of premium handcrafted reds and whites, and their passion for excellence definitely shows.
- Kaimira Estate: Quality with a conscience is the theme at Kaimira Estate. They produce a full range of dry-style aromatic wines, grown organically and with a light carbon footprint. Their tasting room features local artworks and a nice lawn, making it the perfect environment for a summer afternoon.
- Waimea Estates: With three different vineyards, Waimea Estates produce a wide variety of wine. They make all of the classics in the region, but something they’ve gained a bit of a cult following for is their strawberries and cream Rosé and their desert wines. They’ve earned themselves over 100 gold medals in both domestic and international competitions. Definitely one for the grape radar!
Next to one of the smallest wine-growing regions lies one of the largest. Marlborough is famous for producing the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world, and there are an abundance of wineries to choose from. You’ll be spoiled for choice, but here’s a few goodies to help you decide.
Wineries to visit
- Greywacke: Owner Kevin Judd started Greywacke after producing wine for Cloudy Bay for years. His craftsmanship and creative flair translates well through his wine, making his passion for winemaking clear. They don’t have an always-open cellar door but if you make an appointment with them in advance they’re more than happy to give you a tasting.
- Herzog: An attention to detail is something that makes Hans Herzog wines well sought after. They produce a large range of grapes, but still keep the philosophy of quality over quantity. Definitely visit here during lunch as well – they offer one of the best dining experiences in the region!
- Allan Scott: This family owned and operated winery has an informative tasting experience and an excellent dining area. A good way to experience this winery is to book a tour, which includes a complementary tasting and a walkthrough of the winery with its friendly staff. Our favourite drop here is the Cecilia Brut.
Just a short drive out of Christchurch will bring you to most of the wineries in the Canterbury region. The area is quite new to winemaking, but produces an exceptional Riesling and Pinot Noir. If you’re thinking about exploring the wineries around here, think about considering these two:
Wineries to visit
- Mt Beautiful: Established on (beautiful) rolling hills in North Canterbury, visiting Mt. Beautiful is a scenic delight. Their sustainable values and methods of wine production (and great tasting wines) have given them heaps of recognition in the form of numerous awards. The tasting room seems to fit with the beautiful theme well, with plenty of light and a mix of wood and grey marble accents.
- Straight 8 Estate: Half an hour south from Christchurch, off state highway 1 lies a cellar door showcasing Straight 8’s single vineyard wines. They have a laid back environment and offer a free tasting. It’s known that upon purchase you can try your luck at negotiating the price down a little (a bit of wine helps with that confidence too I’m sure).
If you like your wine with a view, this is the place to go. The Central Otago wine region has a range of different soils and climates due to the mountain ranges, making it a unique terroir that produces some of the best Pinot Noir in New Zealand. It’s quite a large region, with many wineries so we recommend you take at least a few days out to explore this region.
Wineries to Visit
- Gibbston Valley: A wine tour here will take you to the region’s oldest vineyard and through New Zealand’s largest wine cave. Gibbston Valley operate four distinct vineyards and produce a range of excellent Pinot Noirs that have earned them endless awards. They’re also well known for their summer concerts, which are definitely worth going down for.
- Mt. Difficulty: Producing another high-quality Pinot Noir, Mt. Difficulty is located in the Bannockburn region. Their tasting and restaurant venue overlooks stunning views of the dramatic surrounding mountains. This is ideal for appreciating the beautiful landscape that produces such beautiful wine.
- Rippon: Perched on a hill looking out over Lake Wanaka, Rippon’s tasting room and restaurant is another not to disappoint on the views. The Lake and the Schist soil make for a different microclimate for their vines, producing unique flavours in their wines that are bound to impress.
Over to you…
Do you have any wineries you absolutely love? Let us know by leaving a comment!