One of the most important boom industries in New Zealand over recent years has been wine production, and there are vineyards that can be found across the country producing a wide variety of different wines. Along with good wine, many of these vineyards offer wine tours and restaurants on site too, and this has helped to develop an excellent wine tourism industry which allows visitors to enjoy the wonderful scenery and food on offer with some of the best wines in the country. While there are numerous vineyards that can be visited around the country, here are some of the best in New Zealand for vineyard tours.
Stonyridge Estate, Waiheke Island
A short ferry journey away from the northern city of Auckland, Waiheke Island is a beautiful island with miles of golden, sandy beaches that benefit from the pleasant warm climate that have helped the Stonyridge Estate to develop an excellent vineyard. The northern slopes have been developed to grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot grapes, and these grow well on the slopes where temperatures in the summer can often soar above thirty degrees Celsius. While public tours are regularly available on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, those traveling in a group can often arrange a private tour of the vineyard if there are enough people. There is also a wonderful cafe on site that offers superb fresh food created using local ingredients.
Esk Valley, Hawke’s Bay
The Esk Valley Estate is situated a short drive away from the east coast of the North Island in the beautiful area known as Hawke’s Bay, and is one of the most established vineyards in the country. Like much of this area, the Esk Valley Vineyard in Hawke’s Bay is known for producing excellent Syrah and Chardonnay grapes, and involves growing grapes on the valley floor as well as on a beautiful series of terraces on the hillsides along the valley. As well as offering a chance to explore and taste their wonderful wine, the Esk Valley Vineyard is also home to a superb small eco hotel, where visitors can stay the night and explore the area as well as enjoy a glass or two of the best vintages.
Oyster Bay, Marlborough
Marlborough is a region of New Zealand that is to be found at the northern tip of the South Island, and is known as the most important wine growing area in the country. The wide plains where the vineyards are located give the grapes long ripening times, which helps the development of excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes which then become some of the most popular wines that are exported around the world. There are two Oyster Bay vineyards located within the Wairau Valley, with a winery tour being one of the best way to get a good look at the vineyard and to appreciate the stunning modern building where these wines are produced.
Mount Difficulty Vineyards, Bannockburn
Located in Central Otago, the Mount Difficulty vineyards are among the most productive areas of the South Island for the production of Pinot Noir, although Chardonnay and Riesling grapes are also to be found growing in this area. The main buildings on the vineyard are close to the small town of Bannockburn, and the soil is combined with gravel which means that it drains quickly and requires plenty of irrigation, and along with the cool temperatures has helped Pinot Noir to develop here.
The winery building is one of the most interesting in the country, offering a separate tasting room and a restaurant, with the sharing platter being a great accompaniment to some of the best wines produced in the country.