Image: Mahana, Nelson
Goldilocks would love it here
Nelson has the highest annual sunshine hours in New Zealand, making it an absolute El Dorado when it comes to growing fruits of every description. Once upon a time it was all about orchards, but today it’s hops and grapes, art and science that has wine-tourist taste buds in a tizz.
Mountains keep the area warm and protected from the predominant weather cycles to the west, south and east; and with the cooling effect of the Tasman sea – Goldilocks would love it here. It’s not too hot or too cold – in fact it’s just right. These conditions give Nelson examples an exceptionally fine minerality; they get a really pure expression of pinot noir here, and if you’re after organic, biodynamically produced pinot – then here’s the place to get it.
Small, but perfectly formed
All of Nelson’s wineries are family owned. While they’re mostly small, the words ‘perfectly formed’ often appear in reviews – wrap your tastebuds around a selection of their pinots and you’ll understand why. As vine age, production and availability have increased, Nelson has begun to take its place as one of the quality Pinot Noir producing regions of the world. Whether your Pinot is weighty from the Moutere or pretty from the Waimea Plains, Nelson Pinot is always expressive and perfumed, with fine, ripe tannins and complex depths.
Getting there (and what to do while you’re there):
Nelson’s location at the top of the South Island makes the region very accessible from all points around New Zealand, whether arriving by air, by sea or by road and is serviced by regular, direct flights from the three major international airports.
The region is home to a prominent artisan community, with an abundance of wineries, breweries, artists, galleries and cafes available for visitors to experience firsthand. The wider Tasman area delivers an exceptional outdoor scene with plenty of hiking, kayaking, cycling, fresh seafood and fishing, three national parks, and two of New Zealand’s “Great Walks.”
Visitors will find remarkable wine experiences spread across two sub-regions; the Waimea Plains and the Moutere Hills. These two sub-regions not only have their own unique growing conditions, but also their own unique character of wineries, restaurants, accommodation, and wine tours.