Northland Wine Region

Its northern location and close proximity to the sea give the Northland region an almost subtropical climate – humid, sunny and warm.

Warm spring temperatures, hot dry summers, and calm, clear autumn days allow fruit to ripen early, creating full-bodied and rich wines.
The first vines in New Zealand were planted in the Bay of Islands by the missionary, Reverend Samuel Marsden in 1819.

In the late 1800s, the Croatian gumdiggers arrived bringing their European tradition of winemaking.

The region's tropical Chardonnays, popular Pinot Gris and vibrant Viogniers are leading the white wine growth. Red wines produced include spicy Syrahs, stylish Cabernet and Merlot blends, peppery Pinotages and complex Chambourcin.

Northland's grape vines receive more heat to assist grape ripening during the growing season than any of the country's other winegrowing regions.

Northland vineyard sites

Stretching from Karikari in the north to Mangawhai in the south, each vineyard in Northland is unique in aspect, soil, and micro-climate.

Regional Maps 2020, Northland

As its name implies, Northland is New Zealand’s most northerly region, with pockets of winegrowing stretching from Karikari in the north, to Mangawhai in the south.

Northland’s long, narrow shape means there is nowhere further than 50 kilometres from the ocean, and its northerly latitude delivers as close to a subtropical climate as is found in New Zealand.

Beyond this, Northland’s soils, vineyard aspects and microclimates are all unique, creating a diverse collection of wine styles from a wide range of varieties.

Vineyards are generally clustered in the coastal areas around Whangarei, the Bay of Islands and Kaitaia, taking advantage of both the flatter coastal land and tempering sea breezes.

Visiting Northland wine region

Rich in history and natural beauty, a visit to New Zealand’s winterless north is sure to leave a lasting memory. Within a few hours’ drive or quick flight to Kerikeri, visitors can explore Northland’s boutique wineries set in breathtaking landscapes. 

Wine history lovers can't miss Kemp House and the Stone Store, two of New Zealand’s oldest buildings. It’s also the site where the first grapes were planted in New Zealand over 200 years ago. Getting out on the water is a must and there are plenty of options from sailing a tall ship and daily boat cruises to kayaking. For more information on visiting Northland, see www.northlandnz.com/visit.

 

Northland Wine Styles and Production

Wine Region Plantings 2020, Northland

 

Chardonnay

Northland Chardonnay is made in a variety of styles, anchored by full-bodied ripe melon, fig, stonefruit and citrus fruit. Some producers also produce earlier-picked crisper, lighter-bodied styles.

Syrah

A key red variety for the region, Syrah appreciates Northland’s warm climate and long-growing season. Wines are medium-bodied with soft tannins and ripe, spicy berry fruit and plums plus a hint of florals.

Pinot Gris

Ever popular Pinot Gris is made in densely fruited, full-bodied styles with peach, spice and gingerbread notes. Most wines are fruit-focused and unoaked but there’s occasional seasoned oak use for extra texture and complexity.

Merlot

Merlot enjoys Northland’s long, warm growing season, delivering robust, spicy, berryrich wines with moderate body and tannins.

Visiting Northland

Rich in history and natural beauty, a visit to New Zealand’s winterless north is sure to leave a lasting memory. Within a few hours’ drive or quick flight from Auckland, visitors can explore Northland’s boutique wineries set in breathtaking landscapes. 

The wineries of Northland can be found in areas with incredible visitor experiences such as Mangawhai, Whangarei, Bay of Islands, and Kerikeri, providing endless opportunities to enjoy wine on a boat, at a beach, or in the bush.  For more information on visiting Northland, see www.northlandnz.com/visit.

Learn more about Northland wine

New Zealand Wine Textbook
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