How about a New Zealand wine road trip?

We’re fast heading towards the end of the summer, and you may be planning your trip for next year. Or perhaps you need some ideas of how to integrate your love of wine into a holiday. Either way, New Zealand is the perfect destination for wine-lovers and offers many stops worth visiting as part of a road trip.

Driving may not be your thing, but that’s fine too as you can always pick up internal flights or public transport to visit wine destinations. Or just choose one and soak up the sun, wine and laid-back lifestyle. Here are a few places to visit in New Zealand that are perfect for anyone with an interest in wine.

South Island wine trail

The South Island is mountainous and home to beautifully dramatic scenery. It’s also relatively underpopulated and boasts the most famous wine regions in the country. These include Marlborough, Nelson, Central Otago, Waipara Valley and Waitaki Valley.

Ten days would give you ample time to discover many of the main wine destinations, although you may find it difficult to leave and want to stay longer!

Visit Nelson

Nelson is a wonderfully relaxing place to visit, and offers three national parks, two epic hikes and, of course, the wine region. It’s a real artists’ haven, and you’ll find endless galleries and opportunities to browse local products and art.

It’s also a prolific hops-growing region, so you’ll find craft brewing alongside the wineries. Local produce is bountiful, including kiwi fruit, nuts, cheese and berries, all of which make the weekly farmers market a must-visit.

Head to the village of Upper Moutere, where you’ll find wineries including Neudorf Vineyards, which is known for its incredible Chardonnay. Over on the Waimea Plains lies Greenhough Vineyards, which is an organic wine producer. Nelson’s oldest winery is Seifried, which is also handily accessible.

When you’ve had your fill of wine, there’s plenty to do, with beaches, shallow waters, mountain bike trails and endless countryside to explore.

Visit Marlborough

Head east away from Nelson to the capital of Marlborough, Blenheim. The Marlborough Museum has an excellent summary of the history of the wine in the region, and you can visit Auntsfield Estate. This was the site of the very first vines planted in Marlborough by Scotsman David Herd back in 1873.

Granted, it took another hundred years for locals to take wine-making seriously, but David’s original winery is still there and can be visited. Blenheim railway station’s heritage building dates back to 1913 and now hosts The Wine Centre, a shop and tasting location offering around 80 different wines from the region.

There are more than 30 wineries in Marlborough, with some of the best-known including Cloudy Bay, Nautilus, Framingham and Fromm. Take a trip to Brancott Estate’s restaurant and cellar door which is located just above the first block of Sauvignon Blanc vines that were planted in the region. The wine is impressive, but so are the gorgeous views over the valley and far beyond.

Visit Waipara Valley

Head south on State Highway 1 in the direction of Christchurch, and less than an hour away you’ll find Waipara Valley. This is the centre of the North Canterbury wine region, and because it’s compact can be covered in a day.

There’s a cycle trail around the vineyards, or you can walk it. It connects some of the cellar doors in the region. Two of the best winery restaurants in New Zealand are in Waipara Valley – Pegasus Bay and Black Estate both won the prestigious winery restaurant of the year award.

Visit Waitaki Valley

Six hours of driving, or a short domestic flight, later and you will reach Queenstown. From there, travel towards North Otago and look for the Waitaki Valley, which offers lesser known wines.

In a tiny rural town called Kurow, a 1930s post office building now houses The Vintners Drop, where you can taste and buy Ostler Wine’s wares. Try Caroline’s Pinot Noir, for a pure and fragrant flavour.

This is only a taster of New Zealand’s wine offerings, but it’s a must for any serious wine lover looking for a holiday with a difference.

Wine tourism in New Zealand on the up

New Zealand has much to offer tourists. From beautiful, endless countryside to visits to the Lord of the Rings set, there’s something for everyone. Ideal Wine Company review where every wine lover should be visiting this year.

Wine lovers are also well catered for in this area, as figures show that New Zealand is becoming ever more popular as a wine tourism destination.

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If you’re a wine lover, you’ll want to visit New Zealand this year!

Wine lovers flock to NZ

In fact, the recent figures from trade body NZ Winegrowers shows that wine tourism has sharply increased with a quarter of all tourists visiting a vineyard or winery while in New Zealand.

The figures state that the 24 per cent of tourists from overseas that visit vineyards has leapt from 13 per cent just four years ago.

Tourism up in general

So far in 2017, New Zealand has welcome around 3.65 million visitors to its shores. This is an increase of 10 per cent on the same time in 2016, according to figures from the NZ government.

The trade body (NZ Winegrowers) has been quick to capitalise on the increase in tourism by launching a brand-new website. The site acts as a hub for information on wineries and vineyards for tourists to visit.

Marketing director Chris Yorke says: “Wine tourism provides an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our wines in the unique locations where they are grown and produced.”

New website launched

The new website contains information on more than 450 wineries and vineyards. Visitors can filter by regions and by four kinds of experience: vineyard tours, wine tastings, dining and staying at vineyards that offer accommodation.

CEO of Tourism NZ, Stephen England-Hall, puts the popularity of wine tourism down to the wide appeal of visiting sites at any time of year across different regions. He says: “Our research has found that wine visitors spend more, stay longer, and visit more regions than the average international holidaymaker.”

Auckland offers the most wine and vineyard experiences with 90 to choose from. Even the area with the least wine attractions in the country (Gisborne), there are still 14 to discover.