New Zealand Wine Catalogue 2022New Zealand Wine Catalogue 2022
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Its northern location and close proximity to the sea give the Northland region an almost subtropical climate – humid, sunny and warm.

Key statistics


Total Producing Hectares


Proportion of Total NZ Production (Tonnes)


Total Number of Varieties Grown


2,037 hours of average annual sunshine. 1,518 millimeters of average annual rainfall. Northland is renowned for its warm, relatively sunny subtropical maritime climate with mild winters, accompanied by plentiful rainfall and humidity. The latter can provide challenging conditions for winegrowers at times, but also varies quite significantly according to individual sites. The mild climate allows a wide range of varieties to ripen, and delivers generosity and warmth to Northland’s wines.
Northland’s vineyards are planted on a highly variable range of soil types, perhaps not surprising for a region encompassing such a long, narrow and diverse topography. Northland has more than 220 soil types, a significant increase compared to other New Zealand regions which typically have around 20. Owing to the small number and relatively far-flung locations of producers, subregions are not yet clearly defined within Northland, thus it can be difficult to generalize about the impact of soil on the wines other than on a case by case basis. However, heavy clay loam and free-draining volcanic soils are relatively common throughout the region, with free-draining soils particularly prized for vineyards in a region with abundant rainfall. Subsoils are generally compact clays. Maintaining balanced growth in Northland’s mild climate is a priority for producers when establishing vineyards. The other key feature of Northland soils is the legacy of the lush subtropical climate’s generous plant growth and historically extensive kauri forests, which have provided many areas with deep layers of acidic leaf litter and low fertility, though these are not typically soils used for vineyard plantings.
Primary varieties
25% Chardonnay, 18% Syrah, 14% Pinot Gris, 7% Merlot

About the region

As its name implies, Northland is New Zealand’s most northerly region, with pockets of winegrowing stretching from Karikari in the north, to Mangawhai in the south. Northland’s long, narrow shape means there is nowhere further than 50 kilometres from the ocean, and its northerly latitude delivers as close to a subtropical climate as is found in New Zealand. Beyond this, Northland’s soils, vineyard aspects and microclimates are all unique, creating a diverse collection of wine styles from a wide range of varieties. Vineyards are generally clustered in the coastal areas around Whangarei, the Bay of Islands and Kaitaia, taking advantage of both the flatter coastal land and tempering sea breezes.

Northland has a long history of winegrowing, with the country’s first vines planted in the Bay of Islands in 1819 by the missionary Reverend Samuel Marsden. Plantings remained relatively small until the late 1800s when the Croatian gumdiggers arrived, establishing New Zealand’s earliest wine industry, one focused on a strong trade in fortified wines - a style well suited to Northland’s production of ripe, richly flavoured grapes. Many present day producers across New Zealand can still trace their roots back to Northland.

Northland’s tropical fruited Chardonnays, popular Pinot Gris and intensely flavoured Viogniers are leading the region’s white wine growth. A variety of red wines are produced canvassing spicy Syrah, stylish Cabernet and Merlot blends, peppery Pinotages and even the seldom-seen Chambourcin.

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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