Calling All Wine Lovers

236 miles of wine trails await you in New Zealand.
By Lola Méndez

The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail is a delightful journey through several regions on State Highway 2 from Napier to Blenheim including the major wine-growing regions of Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, and Marlborough. These wine regions, including the country’s capital city of Wellington, produce over eighty percent of New Zealand’s celebrated wine production. Have a designated driver and keep an eye out along the entirety of the wine route for the Classic NZ Wine Trail signposts with a motif of a grape bunch. Taste your way through the region as you take in the incredible scenery of forest parks between pairing wine with decadent meals and memorable evenings.

The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail covers the best of New Zealand wines from the North Island’s central east coast to the top of the South Island. At each stop, you’ll have the chance to try unique vintages, aromatics, and other famous wines from the region. Along the way, you can visit historic villages, art galleries, hike through the forest, and catch live theater performances.

If you don’t have time to visit the entire trail, plan your trip around your favorite grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot lovers should head to Hawke’s Bay while Pinot Noir lovers must not miss Wairarapa which is only home to 3% of New Zealand’s wineries. If you prefer white wine you’ll be delighted to find that New Zealand’s largest producer of wine, Marlborough, is Sauvignon Blanc country but you’ll also come across a selection of Chardonnay’s in Hawke’s Bay.

With 230 wineries along the trail, you’re sure to find some new favorite wines to take home as a memorable and tasty souvenir. No matter which direction you take on the trail, you’ll have the option of visiting over 100 cellar doors for tastings and winery tours led by knowledgeable local winemakers. Some wineries offer bike tours of their vineyards.

Hawke’s Bay is the country’s leading producer of reds and has over 35 cellar doors including Crab Farm Winery. Cloudy Bay Vineyard in Marlborough is popular with wine buffs from around the world. Aromatic wines can be enjoyed at vineyards in Waimate, Cheviot, and the Waipara Valley.

A wide selection of accommodations is available on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. Enjoy a room in a luxury lodge, at an authentic farm stay, or at a cozy bed and breakfast. Plan to take at least four days to enjoy the full wine trail experience.

Along the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, you’ll find excellent dining options serving up local specialties such as green-lipped mussels in Marlborough served with a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Many of the vineyards have gorgeous cafés overlooking rows and rows of grape vines such as Linden Estate Winery’s Valley d’Vine Restaurant in Hawke’s Bay. Build your own picnic by creating a DIY wine flight of your favorite wines you discovered on the trail and pair them with fresh fruit from the U-pick orchards where stone fruits and apples are cultivated and grab a selection of cheese, olives, chocolate, and bread from local purveyors at a farmers’ market.

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