New Zealand Wine: 10 Wine Regions to Visit

New Zealand isn’t just a beautiful island with natural charm and exotic wildlife. It’s an entire world of premium wine.

As one of the world’s top wine contenders, this country is most famous for its uniquely herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc with a distinct grassy note. However, there are many other selections here to explore. 

In this article, we’re covering all of New Zealand’s wine regions and its most standout wines. 

New Zealand Wine_10 Wine Regions to Visit Infographic | Macy's Wine Shop

The South Island

With all of the breathtaking scenery and climate conditions needed for crafting superb wine, most of New Zealand’s vineyards are on the Southern Isle (AKA the South Island). Here are the four wine regions to visit:


The most popular and largest wine region in New Zealand, this area is what first put the country on the world wine map. With a climate characterized by intensely sunny days and cool nights, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc quickly gained international acclaim. 

This region is divided into three subzones: Southern Valleys, Wairau Valley, and Awatere Valley. Marlborough is known for its aromatic varieties and excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.


One of the smallest regions in New Zealand wine country, this picturesque region is known for its snow-capped mountains and cooler climate despite being just a two-hour drive from Marlborough. This brisk region is famous for crisp, herbal New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Central Otago

The southernmost wine region in the world and the coolest wine region in New Zealand, the cool climate grape variety of Pinot Noir dominates, with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay as secondary varietals. 


Canterbury is home to vast, diverse terrain, including gravels and clays along hillsides, perfectly suited for Pinot Noir. It consists of two sub-regions: Waipara Valley and Canterbury Plains. The former boasts a cooler climate perfect for elegant, fruit-forward Rieslings. The latter favors citrusy Chardonnay, produced in both crisp and oaky varietals.

The North Island

With active volcanoes and miles of natural scenery, the North Island is an oasis for sipping some of the country's most famous wines. Below are the top varietals and regions.


Far south on the North Island near Wellington is the small wine region of Wairarapa, home to several of New Zealand’s most famous wineries. The focus of this region is red wine, with New Zealand Pinot Noir reigning supreme with its intense fruit flavors.

Hawke’s Bay

The second largest wine producer in the country only to Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay is known for Bordeaux blends like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, although Syrah plays an important role as well.


Auckland’s viticulture has been booming since the nineteenth century, and today, it’s New Zealand’s largest city. In partnership with Waiheke Island, this region produces some of the most expensive world-class wines.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is primarily known for its excellent red wines ranging from bright and fruity Pinot Noir to robust Cabernet Sauvignon.


The central wine production region on the North Island, Waikato, is home to some of the most lush natural scenery in the whole country. Its beautiful farmlands are home to the Shire depicted in Peter Jackson’s, The Lord of the Rings films.

This region may be smaller, but it grows yearly with its outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.


Known as the Chardonnay capital of New Zealand, the wines are fermented partly in oak and steel barrels, lending to highly aromatic wines boasting tropical notes like melon and pineapple. 

Now that we’ve explored the wine regions, let’s take a look at some of the best New Zealand white wines to enjoy.

New Zealand white wine grapes | Macy's Wine Shop

New Zealand White Wines

Here are some of New Zealand’s top white varietals.

Sauvignon Blanc
Pinot Grigio
Chenin Blanc
Grüner Veltliner

    Now that we know what white wines to look for in New Zealand, here are the best red wines to explore.

    Red wine grapes | Macy's Wine Shop

    New Zealand Red Wines

    Here are the top red wines this country has to offer.

    Pinot Noir
    Cabernet Sauvignon
    Bordeaux Blends

      Top New Zealand Wineries

      If you happen to make your way to the island, here are the best New Zealand wine vineyards to visit. 

      Cable Bay Vineyards

      Located in Auckland, this winery is a must-visit for wine lovers. It’s one of the most desirable wine-growing regions in the country, with premium, handcrafted wines that reflect their rich terroir. The cool sea breezes daily and at night foster expressive and fruit-forward varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Syrah, and Merlot.

      Villa Maria 

      Villa Maria is home to vibrant Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and other aromatic and fruit-forward varietals. It boasts everything from crisp to more complex, like buttery Chardonnay, fruity Pinot Noir and Syrah, and organic wines. This winery has produced some of New Zealand’s most unique and quality wines for over sixty years. 

      Volcanic Hills Winery

      The only winery in Rotura, the wine-tasting rooms here are at the top of a skyline gondola. Take in the views of the lush hillsides while sipping Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Syrah, Chardonnay, Rosé, Blanc de Blanc, and Port. 

      Domaine Thomson Wines

      Located in Central Otago, this winery has land in two wine-growing regions: France and New Zealand. The vineyards shine with mineral Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, rich in flavor from the nutrient-dense soils they’re grown in.

      Clos Henri Estate

      Perfected by over ten generations of winemakers, Clos Henri Estate is famous for some of the best organic Marlborough, New Zealand wines. Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc wines are the prominent varietals here, all grown in the cool climate of Wairau Valley. You will find a variety of excellent red wines, white wines, sparkling wines, and sweet wines here. 

      The Elder Pinot

      Located on the old river terraces of the Ruakokaputana River, this winery has been crafting excellent Pinot since 1996. The low-frost climate and sustainable winemaking practices foster crisp and fruity Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Rosé, and sweet red wines

      New Zealand’s Premium Wine Scene

      When we think of New Zealand, it’s not just Sauvignon Blanc that comes to mind, but the volcano tasting rooms, terroir-driven Pinot Noir, and fabulous French blends.

      For more on your favorite wines and regions, check out The Wine Blog.

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