A large, important and very diverse region, home to New Zealand’s biggest wine companies and tiny boutique vineyards, both of which produce some of its finest wines.
- Spread across a large, geographically diverse area, the Auckland wine region encompasses the distinctive vineyard island of Waiheke, the historic West Auckland sub-regions of Henderson, Kumeu/Huapai/Waimauku and stretches north to the coastal enclave of Matakana, and south to Clevedon’s rolling hills. Award-winning Gewürztraminer is even crafted next to Auckland’s International Airport.
- Established in the early 1900s by Croatian, Lebanese and English winemakers whose legacy and names endure today: Babich, Brajkovich, Corbans, Delegat’s, and Nobilo to name just a few, while Auckland’s current acreage is considerably smaller, magnitude remains in its collective experience, presence of significant wine companies and not least, exciting, high-quality wines over its length and breadth.
- Whilst difficult to generalise across such varied terroirs, the sub-regions are united by a few common factors: volcanic, clay-rich soils, a temperate maritime climate and significantly, proximity to NZ’s largest, most economically important city.
- Home to powerful, intense reds – Bordeaux-blends in the north and on Waiheke (which also has thrilling Syrah) – plus world-class Chardonnay and fine aromatics, the modern Auckland wine industry continues to shine.
SOURCE: New Zealand Winegrower's Vineyard Register Report & Annual Report
Plantings and Styles (2014)
Pinot Gris 30ha
Grown throughout the region but particularly strong in Matakana, which produces fleshy, weighty wines with spicy, ripe stonefruit and pear aromas and flavours.
Sophisticated, intense wines flow from Waiheke where the excitement is building about its aromatic, elegant, pure-fruited expression of the variety.
Varying styles of weighty, ripe wines with tropical flavours and fresh, balanced acidity are common throughout the region; Kumeu sees the variety reach a refined zenith.
Red Blends 121ha
Merlot - 50ha, Cabernet Sauvignon - 31ha, Cabernet Franc - 24ha, Malbec - 17ha, Petit Verdot - 5ha
Stylish Red Blends are common throughout the region; Merlot generally performs best on the heavier soils. Dense yet elegant, commanding acclaim and frequently very high prices.
1 Waiheke Island
The picturesque island location of Waiheke both defines its boundaries and contributes to its unique terroir. The warm, dry maritime climate promotes intensity, varietal depth and purity of fruit. Long renowned for its exciting Bordeaux-blends, Syrah is a rising star, fresh, elegant and silky, though a range of other varieties from Montepulciano to Petit Verdot, Chardonnay to Viognier also do well.
2 West Auckland
Redolent in history, a source of some of the country’s best wines - a trip ‘out west’ is mandatory for wine lovers. Fertile soils and warm, humid weather are challenging but experience counts and numerous wines regularly receive international plaudits. Chardonnay and Merlot are highlights though the range is broad. some larger wineries also source fruit from other regions to keep pace with supply.
Approximately an hour’s drive north of Auckland is Matakana’s pretty rolling hills and a most welcoming area for wine tourists. Vines are relatively recent but produce stylish Pinot Gris, Syrah and Bordeaux reds. The climate is balmy and humid, testing for viticulture, yet careful site selection and vine husbandry ensures warm, spicy wines with good body and texture.
Map key Subregion Vineyard
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Warm and relatively humid for the most part, rainfall (which decreases moving eastward) can be high some seasons; ripening grapes is generally not a problem but disease pressure can be, lessened by site selection and viticulture techniques. Waiheke Island’s Hauraki Gulf location gives it a particularly distinct climate, being both drier, warmer and assisted by cooling sea breezes.
SOURCE: MetService climate summary 1971-2000
Auckland’s extensive volcanic history has overlain its ancient bedrock with much younger material; millennia have then weathered this away to predominately clay soils, though layered sandstone, mudstone and wind-blown silt are also common. All sub-regions vary significantly and while generally soils provide quite poor drainage, management and clone selection have enabled the production of premium wines.