Time is the only thing you’re up against when you visit New Zealand. You want to see it all, but there’s just not enough time!
Although New Zealand has 10 wonderful wine regions all worthy of a visit, today we’re giving you an overview of 3 wine regions you don’t want to miss on your visit to the South Island:
Nelson is one of New Zealand’s up-and-coming wine regions that can’t be ignored.
With more sunshine hours than any other place in the country, Nelson is making some phenomenal wines that you have to try.
Located about an hour west of the Marlborough region, Nelson produces some amazing wine that goes head-to-head with their internationally recognized neighbor.
Winemakers produce a variety of wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Pinot Noir.
Relax and enjoy your wine wins at a local bed & breakfast located right on a vineyard, such as Milcrest Estate. Together with Milcrest Estate, our Nelson winery recommendations include Neudorf and Golden Hills Estates.
- Hike, kayak, and swim at Abel Tasman National Park
If you’ve heard of at least one New Zealand wine region, it’s most likely Marlborough.
While they’re famous for their aromatic Sauvignon Blanc, it’s important to remember that the region offers much more than just this varietal.
While you should definitely try a few Sauvignon Blancs (you’re there, after all!), do yourself a favor and steer away from this Marlborough cliché because there is so much to taste!
Staying in or around Renwick will put you in the heart of wine country. We stayed at the Olde Mill House Bed & Breakfast which has free bicycles for guests. This enabled us to bike to the wineries instead of driving!
Our Marlborough winery recommendations include Forrest Wines because of their great wines and tasting room ambiance (their John Forrest Collection 2004 Chardonnay is superb), Mahi, and Spy Valley (learning Morse code during a tasting is a new experience).
- Visit the picturesque town of Picton and hike the beautiful waterfront.
It’s the southernmost wine growing region in the world and they are known for their kickin’ Pinot Noir.
The altitude combined with cold winters and hot as heck summers definitely help. Other wine varieties include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer.
Unlike flat, bike-friendly Marlborough, you’ll definitely want wheels with a motor for Otago as areas can be very hilly with narrow, winding roads. If you’re up for the challenge, that’s another story… Lance!
If you stay in Queenstown, it’s just a short drive to our favorite Central Otago vineyards. We recommend a wine tasting and lunch at Mt. Difficulty followed by a trip to The Lazy Dog Restaurant & Cellar Door specifically to taste the fine wines from Misha’s Vineyard.
- Spend a few days visiting and hiking Fiordland National Park
- Take a boat cruise on Milford Sound
- Check out Queenstown, a beautiful lakeside city surrounded by mountains.