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.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • I drove through this region in the summer of 1975. I don’t think there were many wine growing plantations in those days. However, I have never forgotten the feeling that the North Canterbury countryside gave me. It was the happiest time of my life.

    • Natalie Corkery says:

      What a wonderful comment to receive Judith.
      So happy to hear you have such fond memories of your time in New Zealand. And you’re correct – there wouldn’t have been a lot of plantings in that time. You’ll have to come back some time and see how it’s developed in 30+ years 🙂

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