Image: Greystone, North Canterbury
An Aladdin’s cave
An easy 40-minute drive north of Christchurch will land you on the doorstep of one of the most exciting wine regions in NZ – an Aladdin’s cave of geologically rich, diverse and unique areas full of limestone, moa bones and fossils. The gorges, valleys and sunny slopes are occupied by 35 wineries that are mostly family owned and home to a plethora of international trophy winning wines that are quickly winning friends and influencing people.
Best known for exquisitely spicy and rich Pinot Noirs and Rieslings, the North Canterbury has a great reputation for other aromatic varieties such as Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer as well as its own distinctive take on Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
From perfumed and pretty to dark and brooding
The diverse and interesting soil types produce Pinot Noir ranging from the perfumed and pretty to dark and brooding and the long growing season gives wines of finesse and depth, with supple structure and good complexity.
Getting there (and what to do while you’re there):
The cellar doors of North Canterbury are all within easy reach of the Christchurch Airport, ensuring you’re sipping wine shortly after touch down. Many are located north of Christchurch in the Waipara Valley, a boutique wine growing region that recently developed a new cycle trail connecting several of the area’s cellar doors. Others are sprinkled throughout the Canterbury Plains, where you can expect to taste some premium New Zealand wines. The dining scene is also top notch, and some of the most highly awarded restaurants are located at wineries within the region.