Be sure to drink up when you’re Down Under.
It’s no secret that New Zealanders are wine fanatics. They take great pride in their grape-growing regions, and even a visit to just one of these wineries will have you drinking nothing but wines from New Zealand vineyards for years to come. This list is great for both the wine connoisseur or for those who just enjoy sipping any glass under the New Zealand sun.
Allan Scott Family Winemakers
In the Marlborough region of the South Island, Allan Scott Family Winemakers are a family-owned business that specializes in the craft of making their own wine and sharing it with fellow wine-lovers. The wine is made on the premises with the Scott label on every bottle, so you can be sure that you are receiving the best product with even better service. They recently just made a shift to vegan-friendly wines in order to broaden their consumer base, and are always listening to feedback and reviews to grow and improve their business. With multiple vineyards in the region, you can taste a variety of different grapes, including some lesser-known varietals.
Also in the Marlborough region, Fromm Winery is a Swiss-based company with both Kiwi and European roots. Having planted their first vines more than 25 years ago, they have the oldest Malbec vineyard in the country and continue to produce an especially delicious Pinot Noir. They tend to their soil and vineyards with the utmost care to ensure their grapes produce the finest quality wines. Their specialty wines also include Syrah, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer. The winery is regularly open for tours and tastings, even if you are just passing through.
Wairau River Wines
Established by Phil and Chris Rose in 1978, Wairau River Wines is a family-owned business located in Blenheim. They have multiple vineyards, and each one produces excellent quality wines thanks to the hard work and devotion of each family member. There is also an on-site restaurant with chefs who specialize in wine pairings. Their cellar is open for tastings every day, so you can sit outside, relax, and drink in the view of the beautiful Marlborough landscape while sipping on your favorite wine.
Originally Villa Maria started off as a one-man business, but now employs more than 250 people and distributes to 50 countries worldwide. With a cellar door in Auckland as well as one in Marlborough, they offer tastings at each location. The Vineyard Café, in the Auckland area, is open seven days a week and serves the excellent pairings of food with wine. Each of their bottles has a screw cap, to flow with environmental sustainability.
Located in Nelson City, the vineyards of Mahana Estates were founded in 2000 and today still provide an excellent array of wines, food, and accommodation. Their vineyards are dry-grown and organic, and the owners have infused innovative methods into the traditional winemaking process to produce a barrier-breaking taste and experience. Wine-making is an art, and Mahana ensures that you go through an inspiring journey of appreciation and taste when you visit.
Another family-owned business, Kahurangi Estate is located within Kahurangi National Park in Nelson, and they specialize in handmade wines. The cool climate of the region allows for the grapes to grow into an aromatic grape, which means their dominant characteristics are strong aromas like flowers and spices; they generally produce sweeter than usual wines. The vineyard was planted in 1973 and has one of the oldest Riesling vines on the South Island. They are also home to Trout Valley Wines and Melness Wines. With a backdrop of Mt. Arthur, the estate’s cellar door is open seven days a week and is a beautiful place to wind down at the end of your day.
For an example of how impressive a small winery can be, head outside Nelson to Neudorf Vineyard, which has been producing wine in the Moutere Valley since 1978. Thanks to a worldwide reputation for some excellent Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays (among many other grapes), the owners are able to pack a one-two punch of delicious wine amid an intimate, friendly setting. Be sure to indulge in the artisanal cheeses offered to accompany the wine.
Black Estate is home to the Damsteep and Netherwood vineyards, planted on clay-limestone soil in the North Canterbury region. In 2017, they won the “Winery Restaurant of the Year” award, and their restaurant is open seven days a week. The estate also has accommodations available, which allow you to enjoy the peacefulness of the region and to have access to the vineyard’s restaurant and beautiful views. Some of their most popular wines include Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay.
Located in the Waipara Valley, Pegasus Bay is an entirely family-owned and -run winery. The Donaldson family is made up of some innovative and serious winemakers who have been in the business since the 1970s. They have a restaurant and a cellar door that is open for tastings, education, and, of course, for purchasing some of their delicious wines. They have several reserves as well as Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, to list just a few. The winery also has a natural amphitheater and the family has hosted many classical concerts and operas to fuel their passion for the arts.
Located in the Central Otago region in Bannockburn, the owners of Mt. Difficulty Wines are very specific about the process in which their grapes are grown, so they can produce the highest quality possible. They are known for their Single Vineyard wines that they create from their four vineyards: Long Gully, Target Gully, Pipeclay Terrace, and Mansons Farm. Also big on sustainability, they strive to uphold the integrity of the land by producing everything organically. Their cellar door is open for wine tastings and offers a gorgeous view of the surrounding landscape; the on-site restaurant is open seven days a week.