New Zealand Wine Catalogue 2022New Zealand Wine Catalogue 2022
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HomeProducersWinesAppellation Marlborough WineGeographic Indications (GIs)New Zealand Overview


This picturesque region, found on the northern tip of the South Island, benefits from high sunshine hours, a sheltered, moderating coastal climate and free-draining, semi-fertile soil.

Key statistics


Total Producing Hectares


Proportion of Total NZ Production (Tonnes)


Total Number of Varieties Grown


2,405 hours of average annual sunshine. 970 millimeters of average annual rainfall. Nelson’s sheltered topography gives protection from strong winds; combined with its proximity to the sea this gives milder temperatures than other South Island regions, mitigating frost risk, though autumn rains can occasionally be an issue. Blessed with a remarkable number of clear days (regularly New Zealand’s sunniest region), good diurnal variation helps emphasise varietal character and the high sunlight hours give wonderful fruit purity.
Regional soils are broadly gravelly silt loam over a clay base, allowing good water holding capacity. The two main areas vary slightly in their composition; the alluvial flat, silty soils of Waimea Plains give generally lighter, pretty wines than the gently rolling Moutere Hills, where the weathered gravels of an ancient river system sit beneath sandy-topped heavy clay-based soils, giving wines depth and richness.
Moutere Hills
To the west of the city, the verdant Moutere Hills are slightly warmer and wetter than Waimea and the gravel threaded clay soils give richness and texture to the wines, with Pinot Noir showing structure with fine tannins, the Chardonnay complexity and depth, and the Sauvignon and Aromatics a mineral intensity. This is where Nelson’s early pioneers planted and it remains the source of some of its finest wines today.
Waimea Plains
Summing up the subregion beautifully, Waimea is Maori for ‘river garden’. This traditional area for arable crops, orchards and hops has seen most of Nelson’s recent vineyard expansion. With stony alluvial soils and a moderating maritime influence, wines tend to be lighter and fresher in style than Moutere with bright aromas. Pinot Noir is perfumed, Chardonnay rich and expressive and the Aromatics vibrant with a flinty mineral undercurrent.
Primary varieties
60% Sauvignon Blanc, 16% Pinot Noir, 11% Pinot Gris, 11% Chardonnay

About the region

Beautiful, sunny Nelson is a must-visit for any wine visitor with
its tiny yet thriving high quality industry illustrating perfectly the region’s long history of horticulture and artistic endeavours.

Nelson has a gentle sun-drenched climate and a spectacular landscape ranging from golden sand beaches to rugged, bush-clad mountains. Grapes are grown in Moutere Hills and Waimea Plains; production is small but quality is impressive overall including some superlative highlights.

The region is long renowned for crops and orchards, with vines having been cultivated from the time of the mid 1800s German settlers. Bragato commented in 1895 on Nelson’s impressive potential but it was the pioneering 1970s producers who established the modern wine industry – and names such as Seifried and Neudorf are still going strong.

Excellent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Aromatics are produced with Nelson also boasting an impressive and eclectic mix of other varieties.

Nelson has a vibrant artistic and café culture with many wineries offering the benefits of both at their cellar doors. The region’s compact size means visitors can get around most wineries in a day.

Nelson is a scenic two hour drive from Blenheim and while its obvious quality has attracted international critical recognition, being slightly off the beaten track confers a wonderful sense of tranquillity and relaxation to the region.

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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