Hawke's Bay Wine Region

New Zealand’s second largest wine region, sunny Hawke’s Bay has been an abundant source of fine wine since 1851.

Vines were first planted in 1851 by Marist missionaries and Hawke’s Bay enjoys a significant international reputation for producing some of the country’s best wines, red and white.

A relatively large and diverse region capable of producing a wide range of varieties to a very high standard, Hawke’s Bay is best known for its Red Blends and Chardonnay but aromatic whites are consistently good and Syrah is incredibly impressive.

Hawke’s Bay is home to an outstanding wine tourism culture and offers a wide variety of cellar door experiences as well as regular food and wine festivals.

Hawke’s Bay’s temperate climate and plentiful sunshine make the region ideal for fruit-growing.

Hawke's Bay subregions

Regional Maps 2020, Hawke's Bay

Coastal Areas

Tthe two grape growing areas located directly on the coast enjoy the most dramatic effects of the temperate climate and long growing season. The gravelly soils of Bay View in the northern Esk River Valley area and Te Awanga in the South have achieved recognition for premium Chardonnay and early ripening reds, including Pinot Noir.


Increasingly explored for the differences offered in soil and altitude; they are predominately planted in red varieties. Long established around Havelock North, hillsides in the Maraekakaho and Bay View sub-regions produce stellar wines and as vines march inland.

Alluvial Plains

Shaped by rivers and crisscrossed with gravel beds, free-draining alluvial soils and stony terraces, the plains fan out between Havelock and Napier, covering the pioneering vineyards of Taradale and Meeanee plus the Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pa Triangle area, home to some of the region’s best wines.

River Valleys

Running across Hawke's Bay are four rivers which have over time created a huge diversity of grape growing sites. These sites have provided sheltered environments, with variations in altitude, aspect to the sun and variations in soil type. Fine examples of premium Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir are sourced from the higher altitude sites.

Central Hawke's Bay

Inland at an altitude of up to 300 metres Central Hawke's Bay vineyards are characterised as being cooler areas showing potential for Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

Winestyles, planting & production information


Bordeaux blends are highly successful, producing wines of great power, elegance and longevity. Merlot is increasingly the higher percentage in blends, offering rich, plummy depths.


Wines are full-bodied, lengthy, almost opulent but with finely-tuned acidity balancing the richness.

Sauvignon Blanc

Rich, tree fruit-laden wines, underpinned by bright acidity, they often seen a degree of oak fermentation or maturation.

Pinot Gris 

Aromatic, spicy, bold ripe wines with balanced acidity and good body.


Wines are perfumed, elegant with ripe fruit, supple tannins and lingering spice.

Pinot Noir 

Varietal aromatics of cherry, berry fruits, plum, florals and spice, through to more savoury and earthy examples, all with beautifully soft and supple tannins and great richness of flavour.


Learn more about Hawke's Bay wine

New Zealand Wine Textbook

Visiting Hawke's Bay

Hawke’s Bay has a bounty of cellar doors, winery restaurants, vineyard accommodation, and wine experiences. This is a dream destination for wine lovers, easily accessible via the Napier Airport. 

The region offers a plethora of ways to experience the highly-accoladed wines of the region, from well-developed cycle trails, to architecture and wine tours in classic cars. The diversity in wine is matched by the diversity in landscape, as the region’s wineries and tasting rooms are scattered throughout plains, mountain peaks and valleys, and coastal cliffs. 

Wine and food is a way of life in Hawke’s Bay, celebrated with festivals, markets, and events throughout the year. For more information on visiting Hawke’s Bay, see www.hawkesbaynz.com.

Find Hawke's Bay wine near you

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