New Zealand has cemented itself as one of the best wine-making countries in the world. Thanks to our diverse landscape, our country produces an equally diverse range of incredible wines. From world-famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to unmissable Central Otago Pinot Noir, our country has no shortage of divine drops. To help narrow things down, we’ve rounded up ten New Zealand wineries you need to visit at least once. We’ll toast to that.
Sitting pretty beneath the dramatic Pisa mountain range in Central Otago, Amisfield Estate crafts some of the country’s best wine—especially their renowned Pinot Noir. The vineyard prides itself on letting nature take its course with minimal winemaking intervention. The result? Wine as pure as the place itself. Discover the range at Amisfield’s beautiful bistro and cellar door on the shores of Lake Hayes in Queenstown. Here they serve a signature “trust the chef” degustation menu starring three to seven courses designed to be matched with their famous wines.
As the creators of the first ever Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Brancott Estate is a leader in New Zealand’s wine-making. And they haven’t slowed down since—their continuous innovation is evident in their extensive range of divine, world-class wines. The vineyard itself is also one of the most beautiful in the region with sweeping views of the Marlborough landscape. The best place to take in the views is from the on-site restaurant where seasonal dishes are expertly paired to matching Brancott Estate wines.
Escape the hustle and bustle of Auckland life and head to Waiheke Island for a day of wining and dining. Cable Bay is just a 15-minute walk from the Matiatia passenger ferry wharf—making it the perfect one-stop destination for a long, wine-filled lunch. The views are absolutely stunning with a sweeping lawn (complete with bean bags) overlooking the glistening Hauraki Gulf with the CBD’s iconic skyline in the horizon. The Mediterranean-inspired menu has a garden-to-table philosophy with seasonal produce sourced from the vineyard’s organic garden and orchard.
Another quintessential Marlborough gem is none other than Cloudy Bay. Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the first five winemakers to venture into Marlborough—a region now known as one of the finest winemaking locations in the world. The internationally acclaimed winery is known for its iconic Sauv Blanc, elegant Pinot Noir and aromatic Chardonnay. The cellar door is located in the winery itself with a dreamy outdoor wine lounge worthy of passing the day away.
Gibbston Valley Winery
Located in the heart of Central Otago, Gibbston Valley Winery is known for crafting award-winning Pinot Noirs. The picturesque winery also showcases an unmissable gourmet restaurant, a platter-loaded cellar door and even an on-site cheesery. No visit is complete without a guided tasting tour through their incredible wine cave—it’s the largest of its kind in New Zealand. What’s more, the winery also offers bike hire so you can visit via the scenic Gibbston River Trail. Gibbston Valley, you’ve outdone yourself.
Hawke’s Bay’s Mission Estate is a must-visit for all wine-lovers. Established in 1851, it is the country’s oldest winery and the birthplace of New Zealand wine. The cellar door is housed in a beautifully restored historic building with sweeping views of the vineyards, coast and beyond. Pair your visit with a sun-drenched lunch on the outdoor terrace at Mission Estate Restaurant. The restaurant showcases the region’s very best fresh produce to serve contemporary fine dining cuisine.
With a wide range of vineyards under its belt, Mt Difficulty has you spoilt for choice when it comes to incredible wines. The Central Otago-based winery is comprised of several vineyards all sitting pretty under Bannockburn’s mountain. Mt Difficulty utilises the different terroirs to craft both regional and single vineyard varieties. Discover your favourite with a trip to the winery’s picturesque cellar door and restaurant. The venue showcases views of the dramatic rugged rock landscape and seasonal colours of the Cromwell Basin.
Te Mata Estate
Established in 1896, Te Mata Estate remains family-owned to this day. The Hawke’s Bay winery produces 11 exquisite wines made from grapes grown exclusively in the region. Go behind-the-scenes on a tour to see the country’s oldest barrel hall and the stunning Havelock Hills in the heart of the estate. Be sure to try the famous Te Mata Coleraine—it’s praised as one of New Zealand’s finest red wines and collected by wine-enthusiasts worldwide.
Established in 1961 by George Fistonich, the 21-year-old leased five acres of land from his father in Mangere, Auckland. He harvested his first grapes a year later and the brand Villa Maria was born. Located just a five-minute drive from the Auckland Airport, the vineyard and cellar door is a popular lunch spot. You’ll feel a million miles away from the rat race as you share a platter overlooking the beautiful Ihumatao Vineyard—wine in hand, of course. The vineyard is also known and loved for hosting concerts in its stunning outdoor setting.
Image Credit: Brancott Estate