New Zealand Wine Catalogue 2022New Zealand Wine Catalogue 2022
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North CanterburyNorth Canterbury

North Canterbury

Where the Southern Alps tumble down to meet extensive lowlands, boutique producers craft outstanding Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and fine aromatic wines.

Key statistics


Total Producing Hectares


Production of Total NZ Production (Tonnes)


Total Number of Varieties Grown


2,100 hours of average annual sunshine. 648 millimeters of average annual rainfall. The protective Southern Alps ensure low rainfall, abundant sunshine and often very warm summers, helped by the famed hot, dry nor’wester winds, though cooling sea breezes and the occasional cold southerly fronts temper this. Drought risk is mitigated by irrigation. Long dry autumns coupled with good diurnal variance help provide phenolic ripeness, complexity and a variety of styles.
As expected across large and diverse terrains, soil types vary: The northernmost plantings in the region benefit from gravel deposits from its eponymous river plus limestone-derived clays on the hillsides which suit Pinot Noir. The vast, flat North Canterbury Plains surrounding Christchurch comprise mainly of shallow free draining stony soils with varying alluvial deposits courtesy of the many braided river systems crossing the Plains.
Waipara Valley & Waikari
An exciting, fast growing subregion around an hour’s drive north of Christchurch, producing vivid, elegant Rieslings going from strength to strength. Soils are gravels and clays. As sites and meso-climates are explored, evermore distinctive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay emerge. Though the drying nor’wester can challenge, the surrounding hills offer protection and a slightly warmer climate than the rest of the region.
Banks Peninsula & Canterbury Plains
A large area with vines planted from Banks Peninsula on the outskirts of Christchurch, west to Rolleston and West Melton, then sweeping northward towards Waipara, this predominantly flat (or very gently contoured) land has free-draining, shallow greywacke-based gravel soils and a slightly cooler climate than more protected northern areas. Riesling and Pinot Noir are highlights, with the longer growing season giving graceful, expressive wines.
Primary varieties
30% Pinot Noir, 27% Sauvignon Blanc, 18% Riesling, 14% Pinot Gris, 7% Chardonnay

About the region

Where the Southern Alps tumble down to meet New Zealand’s most extensive lowlands, boutique producers craft outstanding Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay and much more.

Spanning nearly 200km of the South Island’s eastern coastline, with the magnificent Southern Alps to the west and sweeping Pacific Ocean to the east, vineyards are situated from Waimate in the south to Cheviot in the north, the area also includes the micro-climate of Banks Peninsula. North Canterbury wine offers a diverse range of styles and producers plus many attractive cellar doors.
Production was first established on the Canterbury Plains near Belfast in 1978 with vineyards to the south-west and north of Christchurch soon following. North Canterbury is now heavily planted with its wines regularly achieving critical acclaim for their subregional expression.

Exploration of new subregions inland towards Weka Pass, forecasts increasing depth, further cementing the region’s overall reputation for elegant, expressive Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Aromatics in particular, though numerous other varieties are planted with excellent results.

The cool, dry climate with good sunshine and long growing season promote full varietal expression; wines are renowned for their intense flavours, richness and complex fruit.

Exhibitors with wines from this region

Craggy Range

New Zealand, Hawke's Bay, Havelock North
New Zealand Wine Catalogue 2022New Zealand Wine Catalogue 2022
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