One of the most common reasons people visit Auckland is to spend some time exploring its wineries, vineyards and cellar doors, where the only thing that’s better than the carefully curated glass of wine in your hand are the stunning views that accompany each and every glass!

Wine Styles In The Auckland Region

Auckland is home to some of New Zealand’s oldest vineyards, some of the original winemakers in the region established these vines in the early 1900s. For a country that produces less than 1% of the world’s wine, NZ provides a wide range of varieties and styles. Much of this is attributed to the passion of its winemakers, but the temperate climate does play its part too. While it was the Sauvignon Blanc that gave NZ a firm footing on the worlds wine map, the diversity and sophistication of the wines here has expanded over the years to include a range of varieties and styles from the rich Bordeaux-style blends of the north through to the exquisite Pinot Noir and Riesling often grown in the south.

Top 3 Auckland Wine Regions

Where are the best wineries in Auckland, and how do you find them? Within Auckland, there are three distinctive geographical wine regions that make the most of the area’s geographical diversity, mineral-rich volcanic soils, and mild temperatures; these are Waiheke Island, Matakana, Kumeu/West Auckland.

Waiheke Island Wine Region

Waiheke wines are world-renowned for their interesting flavour and composition brought about by their unique coastal location. The warm, dry climate conditions and natural ocean boundaries promote an intensity, purity, and depth in their wines not found in other wine regions around New Zealand. Well-established bistros, restaurants, and tasting rooms complete with sweeping vineyards and ocean vistas are key features of the Waiheke wine region. It is no surprise then that Waiheke’s close proximity to the city of Auckland makes it one of the most popular weekend destinations for locals and visitors alike. Due to the restrictive nature of the island, wine production on Waiheke is carried out on a truly boutique scale, making the wines highly sort after. Onetangi Bay is where the majority of the resident wineries are found, with a few over on the eastern and western points. Waiheke Island is best known for its Bordeaux blends made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Syrah and Chardonnay are also planted here.

Growing Conditions

Waiheke’s predominantly hilly oceanic landscape makes for a warmer, drier growing climate than its mainland counterparts. The growing season is long as a result, and the island’s temperatures are kept at a reasonably moderate level by the ocean breeze, which serves to lessen the temperature extremes allowing for a more gradual transition from summer into winter. Waiheke’s soil consists of weathered bedrock covered by a relatively thin layer of hard topsoil. This means rapid drainage and lower levels of nutrients, which means the vines struggle somewhat, resulting in smaller, more intense grapes. This favourably affects the phenolic composition, sugar levels, and acids within the grapes.

Best Waiheke Wineries

Here is a selection of just some of the wineries on offer on Waiheke Island and their specialty wines.

  • Kennedy Point Vineyard. (Certified Organic). Specialists in producing Bordeaux and Syrah.
  • Man O’War. Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Mudbrick Vineyard. Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.
  • Obsidian Vineyard. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec Blend.
  • Stonyridge. Specialists in Bordeaux-style reds.
  • Batch Winery. Flora, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
  • Cable Bay Vineyard. Pinot Gris, Viognier, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Malbec.

Kumeu (West Auckland) Wine Region

The warm, fertile conditions and rolling green hills of Kumeu have long provided ideal growing conditions for its grapevines. While some of its vineyards were established decades ago, it is now home to a range of old and new, with boutique wineries popping up all over the region. Kumeu is home to some of New Zealand’s more well-known wine names, such as Nobilo, Coopers Creek and Babich. Chardonnay and Merlot vines are what the Kumeu wine region is best known for, with a good selection of these wines on offer, many of which have gained international acclaim. Pinotage and Pinot Gris are also planted here.

Growing Conditions

Summer temperatures in Kumeu rarely exceed 30 degrees due to the cooling sea breezes that come from the coasts on both sides of the region. These cooler temperatures extend ripening periods, which is essential for the grapes’ flavour development and prevents a compromise in their acidity. Kumeu’s high humidity and moist over fertile soils can be a problem during the growing season as they create the perfect conditions for over cropping and disease. The predominantly clay and loam-based soils retain water, making it difficult for establishing vines. Variety and rootstock selection is vital, along with careful vine management to mitigate these pitfalls.

Best West Auckland Wineries

Here are just some of the best wineries in Kumeu/West Auckland and some examples of their specialty wines.

  • Kumeu River. World-class Chardonnay.
  • Soljans Estate Winery. Merlot, Malbec, Kumeu Pinot Gris, Barrique Reserve.
  • Coopers Creek. Pinot Gris, Rose and Montepulciano.
  • Westbrook Winery. Multi-award-winning Chardonnays and Rieslings.
  • Kerr Farm Vineyard. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah.
  • The Hunting Lodge. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Matakana Wine Region

An hour north of Auckland sees you entering the distinctive rolling hills of the Matakana wine region. Most of the region’s vineyards sit on north-facing slopes to maximise exposure to Auckland’s best warm sunny days. Though often smaller and with relatively younger vines than some of the other wineries in Auckland, Matakana is a welcoming destination for wine lovers and foodies alike, with many of the vineyards set up for wine tastings and accompanying meals. The mild and humid climate found at Matakana lends itself well to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc wines which feature prominently for winemakers in the region along with Syrah, Malbec, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Montepulciano. White wine varieties found here include Chardonnay, Albarinõ and Pinot Gris. This wide variety of grapes makes Matakana one of the most diverse wine regions in New Zealand.

Growing Conditions

Matakana’s slightly more northern location makes it a little bit warmer and a bit more humid than most other wine regions across New Zealand. A lengthy growing season is achieved from long dry summers, with the majority of the rainfall occurring in the winter months. The Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea breezes help to keep these temperatures at a moderate level. Most of the vines in Matakana are planted on the characteristic gentle slopes that make up the region’s geographical terrain. These slopes provide excellent drainage and a good ripening season as the volcanic clay-loam soils retain sufficient moisture from winter rainfall to enable the possibility of dry-farmed vineyards. Dry farming is a technique used in premium viticulture practices where the vines naturally have access to just enough water to keep them growing while they focus on producing high-quality fruit.

Best Matakana Wineries

Here are just some of the best wineries in the Matakana wine region and their specialty wines.

  • Matakana Estate. Award-winning Chardonnay, Syrah, and Pinot Gris.
  • Matavino Wines. Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo, plus Chardonnay and Viognier.
  • Coxhead Creek Wines. Cabernet Franc, Verdelho and Chardonnay.
  • Brick Bay. Pinot Gris, Rosé, Chardonnay and Bordeaux blends.
  • RIFT Wines. Syrah and Chardonnay.
  • Te Rata Wines. Pinot Gris and Cabernet Franc.

We hope you have enjoyed learning a little about the wine regions of Auckland. Are you thinking of enjoying a winery tour this summer? Check out the wine tours on offer at NZ WinePro here, or get in touch to discuss your custom tour requirements.