Best known internationally for sauvignon blanc, New Zealand also has a growing international reputation for pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and methode traditionelle wines.
Most of the country's more than 500 winemakers are boutique, small scale operations producing low volumes of niche varieties.
NZ wine regions
New Zealand has 10 major wine-producing areas. The leading wine regions include Auckland, Gisborne, Wairarapa (Martinborough) and Hawke's Bay in the North Island and Marlborough, Central Otago and Canterbury in the South Island.
The grape varieties, soil structure and mini-climates in these geographical areas are varied, producing a broad spectrum of wines.
Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay are New Zealand’s two premium wine-growing regions.
Varieties produced include:
sauvignon blanc - Marlborough
pinot noir - Martinborough, Central Otago
cabernet - Hawke's Bay, Waiheke Island
chardonnay - Gisborne
pinot gris - Martinborough, Central Otago
New Zealand also produces outstanding methode traditionelle sparkling wines.
There are about 500 wineries in New Zealand, divided into three categories:
category one wineries - less than 200,000 litres produced
category two - 200,000 - 4 million litres produced
category three - producing in excess of 4 million litres.
The three largest wineries in New Zealand are Montana, Villa Maria and Nobilo.
NZ wine exports
Export income from NZ wine production has seen a phenomenal increase in the past 20 years, growing nearly 24% each year.
The New Zealand wine industry contributes more than NZ$1.5 billion a year to the national economy.
The industry supports more than 16,500 full-time jobs.
NZ wine markets
Australia is New Zealand's biggest market, followed by the UK and US.
Exports to Canada and Asia are continuing to increase.
Auckland is the founding region of New Zealand’s wine industry and features more than 50 vineyards across a range of locations from West Auckland to the beautiful Waiheke Island.
West Auckland was the first area to produce wine in New Zealand, driven by the Croatian community, who introduced New Zealand to their wine-loving way of life. Croatian and Dalmatian names are behind many of the best known labels in the Auckland area today, including Selaks, Babich and Villa Maria.