Already drunk your way around New Zealand's best-known wine regions? Jane Jurgens recommends some lesser-visited spots.
1 Been to:
For Aucklanders, there's nothing better than hopping on a ferry across the Waitemata Harbour and spending sunny afternoons on Waiheke Island. Head further afield - without going too far - with a drive up north to Matakana. Famous for its weekend markets, there's also a good handful of wineries in the area, including Brick Bay, which has an excellent restaurant and sculpture trail. Make a weekend of it and check out the incredible beaches in the region, especially those at Omaha, Tawharanui and Scandrett Regional Park.
Wineries of note:
Ransom Wines, Ascension Wine Estate, Hyperion Wines, Omaha Bay Vineyard, Providence Wines.
2 Been to: Hawke's Bay
You've likely drunk a fair few drops of Hawke's Bay wine in your time. But have you tried much from Waipara? Just an hour north of Christchurch, it's one of the country's fastest growing wine regions, producing great pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. With more than 75 vineyards, and more popping up every year, you're going to be spoilt for choice.
Wineries of note: Black Estate, Pegasus Bay, Sherwood Estate, Alan McCorkindale.
3 Been to: Marlborough
Trade your usual summer visit to Marlborough and try Wairarapa instead. Just an hour's drive from Wellington, it's easily accessible on your next capital city break. The region has a similar climate to that of Marlborough - low rainfall, lots of sunshine and cool nights - making for incredible wines, especially the pinot noirs. Martinborough is the heart of the region, with boutique wineries,terrific food, quaint shops and accommodation options.
Wineries of note: Palliser Estate, Ata Rangi, Margrain Vineyard, Te Kairanga.
4 Been to: Queenstown
Try: Waitaki Valley
Central Otago is heaven for pinot noir drinkers but if you're bored of Queenstown (really? How could you be?), how about trying New Zealand's newest wine region? Grapes were first planted in the Waitaki Valley in 2001 and now there are many small, boutique wineries popping up, all producing excellent pinot noir, as well as pinot gris, riesling and gewurtztraminer. The valley's scenery is worth a visit in its own right - most wineries are around the Kurow river, but you should also check out Ohau, Omarama, Duntroon and Otematata.
Wineries of note: Ostler Vineyard, Otiake Estate, Black Star, Black Stilt.