A Cross-Country Wine Lovers Tour
Published in the Summer 2013 Issue of Canadian World Traveller
By Ruth Atherley
It has been said that if you know a country’s wine, you know the country. Spending time in one of New Zealand’s ten major wine growing regions allows visitors to learn a great deal about the country, the people and, of course, the wine!
Wine tours in the land of the long white cloud are highly popular and with boutique wineries found on both the North and South Islands, you’re never far from a good glass of wine. Wine growing regions in New Zealand include Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury/Waipara Valley and Central Otago.
New Zealand is a country that takes its enjoyment of wine seriously. So seriously, in fact, that wine enthusiasts can follow the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail – a 380-kilometre long self-driving touring route that covers both the North and South Islands. You don’t have to worry about getting lost, because along the way, there are road signs with images of grapes. No words, just a bunch of grapes. It’s like a little secret code for wine lovers.
On the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, visitors experience the real New Zealand complete with five regions that provide excellent boutique wines, gourmet food, charming small town life, sparkling coastal waterways and a thriving, busy and beautiful capital city.
While Tararua and Wellington aren’t wine regions themselves, they are part of the trail and connect Hawke’s Bay with its Syrah, the Wairarapa, known for Pinot Noir, and Marlborough with its iconic Sauvignon Blanc. Each of the wine regions is famous and offers fans of the grape the opportunity to experience several distinctive wine styles.
More than 230 wineries are found along the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail and an estimated 100 of them have a cellar door open to wine lovers. Visitors are always welcomed with world famous Kiwi warmth and friendliness. The wine trail works for both wine novices and those with more experience and knowledge. Know nothing about wine, they’re happy to share their wisdom; know plenty and an engaging discussion will ensue.
On the trail, you come across both large estates and smaller vineyards that make batches by hand. In most of New Zealand’s wineries, the emphasis is placed on quality rather than quantity.
The trail is a year-round experience with each season bringing a new and different adventure for the visitor. Many of the wineries can be found in close proximity to each other, making it ideal for visitors to stroll or cycle between them. No matter what time of year, there is always the opportunity to find treasure in a bottle on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail.
Classic New Zealand Wine Trail:
6 farmers’ markets are along the trail and offer fresh seasonal produce for sample and sale. They also offer a great opportunity to meet the growers and locals.
25 female winemakers are along the trail. Jane Hunter is the most awarded female winemaker in New Zealand (Marlborough).
74 percent of New Zealand’s total annual wine production comes from the regions on the trail.
100 road signs on the main highways guide visitors through the regions of Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington and Marlborough.
Visit: www.NewZealand.com www.airnewzealand.ca