New Zealand is a dream location for any wine lover, with a temperate maritime climate, varied terroir, and over 700 wineries dotted around the country handcrafting a diverse range of varietal expressions. Here are four leading North Island wine regions to tantalise your senses.

West Auckland & Waiheke Island

Kumeu in West Auckland is one of New Zealand’s oldest wine regions, established in the early 1900’s by passionate Croatian, Lebanese and English winemakers.  West Auckland is renowned for its internationally recognised Chardonnay and Merlot. Known for its volcanic, clay-rich soils, Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf is home to stunning Syrah, world class Chardonnay, intense Cabernet blends and fine aromatics.  Waiheke is known as the ‘Island of Wine’. Fly over to Waiheke Island in a luxury spec helicopter and land amongst the vines for a VIP wine tasting.


The Gisborne region regularly records the highest sunshine hours and temperatures in the country, which combines with the silty, coastal soils to produce truly stunning aromatic white wines. Located on the eastern tip of the North Island, Gisborne is the first wine region in New Zealand to see the sun rise and New Zealand’s third biggest wine producer. Home to a mix of large producers and boutique wineries, Gisborne creates stunning white varietals, including Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling, but is most well-known for its aromatic, fruit-forward Chardonnay. Many Gisborne wineries are within a 15 minute drive of the city.  Chardonnay connoisseurs should visit Ormond, home to the region’s oldest vines and best single vineyard vintages.

Hawke’s Bay

Located on the East Coast of the Central North Island, Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine region and home to the oldest winery in New Zealand, Mission Estate, established in 1851 by French missionaries. Boutique, family-owned wineries and larger leading New Zealand producers create a range of delectable wines.  Hawke’s Bay is most celebrated for its Bordeaux style red blends, Syrah, and rich, full-bodied Chardonnay. Hawke’s Bay is one of the warmest regions in New Zealand and sees plenty of sunshine, while still having huge sub-regional diversity due to different soil types, topography, and micro climates. It is also home to the famed Gimblett Gravels sub region, whose Omahu soil features fine sand, stony gravels, and heavy brown topsoil that produces rich red grape varieties. We recommend Art Deco & Wings to experience the best of the best in Hawke’s Bay.


Tucked into the south-east corner of the North Island, the Wairarapa region offers many boutique, family owned wineries.  While Wairarapa is renowned for its Pinot Noir, its intense herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc is a hidden gem. Take the opportunity to discover the lesser known varieties and a delightful selection of aromatics, including Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer.  Wairarapa is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway with someone you love.

Escape NZ specialises in luxury wine and culinary experiences and luxury short escapes to New Zealand’s leading wine regions.  Let us handcraft your bespoke escape to wine country.