What is it that makes a wine country destination so special?
The WINE, of course, but there is so much more to visiting a winery than just what’s in the glass. Grape growing regions can be found across the globe and each one provides a unique experience for travelers.
Why choose New Zealand for your next trip?
(when we can all travel again, that is)
For me, it was the embrace of the close-knit wine community, that makes this destination so very endearing. People who work together can achieve amazing things.
New Zealand Winegrowers have proven that they can do just that. Be amazing.
Their incredible growth is largely fueled by this fabulous community of people paired with the quality of the winemaking itself. The mountain, river, coastal and lakeside views only add to the total wine lovers package.
Winter, Summer, Spring & Fall – The New Zealand landscape is constantly busy showing off. A place that is awesome in its beauty year-round. Most visitors want to enjoy the views while they are enjoying a glass and both are served up here.
EXPERT TRAVELER TIP: New Zealand seasons are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere. I can leave rainy winters in California and enjoy the summertime bliss of New Zealand in January – which is just what I did, fyi.
I have yet to find a place on the islands whose landscape was not full of beauty and awe inspiring topography. And I spent three weeks looking – and sipping of course.
New Zealand is also well known for wowing visitors with a rich culture, diverse gastronomy, sustainable infrastructure, fabulous events, curated shopping, and much more.
But have YOU tried the WINE?
Until such time when we can travel to New Zealand once again, why not open a bottle of NZ wine and live vicariously through the glass?!?
From crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc, to Pinot Noir with a true sense of place, to high quality Sparkling Wines, all the way to remarkable Rieslings that are exceptional at expressing terroir, this wine region has it all… and then some. I could go on and on.
The diversity of offerings was impressive, the diversity of terroir equally so. It seems like a winemakers dream.
With such assorted terroir, varying soils and temperatures depending on geography, New Zealand wines can be as distinct as those from France and their very specific appellations. The diversity of grapes is also notable.
“Get to know the various styles of Sauvignon Blanc, but also taste the brilliance of the other varieties. To me, New Zealand does so much so well.” — David Strada
It is a cool-climate viticultural area with some warmer temp days on the scale. This ideal grape climate with it’s extended ripening period allows for full flavor development while still retaining a fresh acidity. The moderating effect that the maritime climate has benefits the vineyards immensely. Intense aromatics are captured in the bottle.
There is not a single vine in New Zealand that is more than 80 miles from the ocean and most vines are much closer and practically hugging the coast. I visited quite a few wineries with fabulous views of the ocean. Enjoying the sounds of the waves while I tasted was quite a treat for this wine country traveler.
The weather mostly includes long hours of sunshine and nights cooled by fog and sea breezes. Happy grapes make for a happy glass.
New Zealand grapes also benefit from the land itself. Happy soil. The dirt is naturally more acidic with much higher levels of organic matter than one might find elsewhere. A lot of the soils were left when ancient glaciers receded.
The main wine regions feature well-draining alluvial soils, with Central Otago and Waiheke Island being the main exceptions. The vineyards thrive on many soil types, from heavy, water-retaining clay loams, to dry stony riverbeds, and more fertile flood plains. Mostly made up of sandstone, greywacke soil is also common in the vineyard.
“With so much riding on the health and stability of our soils, viticulturists continue to lead the way in employing sustainable practices to preserve and enhance this vital substance.” – NZ Winegrowers
What makes a wine destination attractive to travelers?
An authentic experience. Every destination has it’s own charm, culture and offerings. A wine location that offers travelers an opportunity to experience something they haven’t done before is just all the more special.
A morning bungee jump followed up with a bike ride and a lounge by the riverside where Lord Of The Rings was filmed, an afternoon tasting sustainable wine next to green rolling hills with darling sheep grazing in the distance and a finish to this fabulous itinerary with a farm to table dinner in a quaint town overlooking the coast – ALL in one day.
Sounds like a plan to me.
What sort of welcome can you look forward to in New Zealand?
Hospitality is the Kiwi way.
Need more information on the vineyard? The winemaker might take you there himself. No, really. The warm reception from the wineries that I visited was first-rate.
Oftentimes, the owner, winemaker or even a 2nd generation member of the winery family will be the one pouring a glass for visitors. “Let’s hop in the ATV and go check it out” said one winery owner to me when I asked about greywacke rocks. Awesome.
Manaakitanga’ is the Maori word for hospitality and its meaning includes kindness, generosity and support. The people of New Zealand embody these feelings even with out trying. Kindness seems to come naturally.
They also display a genuine commitment to sustainability, diversity and community and it shows. When you see New Zealand on the wine label, you can be quite certain that the grapes were grown responsibly.
Forward thinking visionaries like the New Zealand Winegrowers protect the land. In this amazing wine region, sustainability and green business practices have been a focus for decades or longer, making them leaders in the industry for their efforts.
Wineries maintain the balance of their natural systems, with responsible labor practices and land stewardship, working closely with vineyard managers and resource agencies.
In New Zealand, taking care of the land was important, long before it was fashionable. Making wines focused on both quality and integrity. Take care of the land and you take care of the people too.
The folks you will meet are also laid-back and informal. No stuffiness allowed in the tasting room. The easy going attitude shows in their approach to welcoming travelers with the correct mood.
A quick grin is friendly, welcoming, and always makes people feel good. Kiwis are friendly to you when you arrive somewhere, so that you find yourself happy and accepted.
Have you ever spoken to someone who has visited New Zealand Wine Country? I bet they had nothing but good things to say.