New Zealand is known for its excellent wine and diverse cuisine, making it a fantastic destination for wine and food tours. Whether you’re interested in the famous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or want to explore the country’s culinary scene, there are plenty of options to consider.
New Zealand is a great for cycling, and there are many options to explore the vineyards on two wheels, by hiring a bike or joining a cycling tour. This active approach allows you to soak in the beautiful countryside while making stops at selected wineries.
New Zealand has several renowned wine regions, each offering a unique experience.
New Zealand Wine Regions
Known for its Sauvignon Blanc, this region is located at the top of the South Island and is New Zealand’s largest wine-producing area. Take a guided wine tours to visit some of the region’s best wineries, sample wines, and learn about the winemaking process. Many tours also offer gourmet food pairings.
Central Otago, also on the South Island, is famous for its Pinot Noir. Wine enthusiasts can enjoy tours that take them through the stunning vineyards of Central Otago, with wine tastings and local cuisine. It’s one of the southernmost wine-producing regions in the world and offers a unique terroir that contributes to the exceptional quality of its wines.
Canterbury is known for its diverse landscapes, including the Canterbury Plains, the Southern Alps, and the stunning Banks Peninsula. Canterbury has a growing wine industry, particularly in areas like Waipara Valley and Akaroa.
Akaroa is a charming French-inspired town located on the Banks Peninsula, about 1.5-2 hours’ drive from Christchurch. Some tours in this area combine visits to local wineries and cheese tasting with the opportunity to explore Akaroa’s unique cultural heritage.
Waipara Valley, located about an hour’s drive north of Christchurch is a renowned wine region known for producing high-quality cool-climate wines, particularly Pinot Noir and Riesling. In addition to its excellent wines, Waipara Valley also offers a range of culinary experiences such as local cheese producers or other artisanal food producers.
Another top wine region, located on the North Island, this region is known for its diverse range of wines, including Chardonnay, Syrah, and diverse wine varietals. Tours in this region offer a combination of wine tasting, vineyard visits, and the opportunity to savor locally inspired dishes.
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, is surrounded by some fantastic wine regions. While Auckland city is not a major wine-producing area, it serves as a gateway to nearby wine regions like Waiheke Island, West Auckland and the Matakana Coast.
A short ferry ride from Auckland, Waiheke Island is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, beautiful beaches, and high-quality vineyards. It’s one of New Zealand’s top wine-producing regions, known particularly for its Bordeaux-style blends, Syrah, and Chardonnay. Notable vineyards on Waiheke Island include Mudbrick Vineyard & Restaurant, Cable Bay and Stony Ridge Vineyards.
Wairarapa, located at the lower tip of New Zealand’s North Island, is a fantastic wine region known for its diverse range of wines, including Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and other varietals. The area is also known for its scenic beauty and charming towns like Martinborough. Wairarapa is not just about wine; it also offers a rich culinary scene. Gourmet food tours can take you to local markets, artisanal producers, and restaurants, allowing you to savor the region’s finest produce and dishes.
Gourmet Food Tours
New Zealand offers an array of gourmet food tours that allow you to explore the country’s culinary scene. You can take food tours in cities like Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, where you’ll sample local dishes and artisanal products.
Artisanal Cheese Tours
New Zealand is home to some excellent cheese producers. Consider taking cheese-focused tours that introduce you to the country’s best cheese varieties, often paired with local wines.
Experience the unique flavours of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori cuisine and Pacific Island influences. Some tours focus on traditional and contemporary Maori dishes, providing cultural insights along the way.
Consider staying in or near the wine region you’re exploring. Many wineries offer accommodation options, and there are also charming boutique hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and luxury lodges in these areas.
If you plan on visiting multiple wineries in a day, consider how you’ll get around. Options include renting a car, hiring a private driver, or joining a guided tour that provides transportation.
Check if there are any wine festivals or events happening during your visit. They can be a great way to taste a variety of wines from different producers in one location.
Remember to pace yourself and drink responsibly. Spit buckets are often provided during tastings, so you can sample the wines without consuming too much alcohol.