Hawke’s Bay has been making wine for over 100 years, making it New Zealand’s oldest wine region. Over 80 per cent of the country’s plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes are grown here, earning the region an established reputation for producing high quality red wines.
Hawke’s Bay’s warm, maritime climate and varying landscapes also produce some of New Zealand’s richest and most complex Chardonnays.
Among the region’s oldest wineries are Mission Estate (est. 1851), Te Mata Estate, Vidal Estate, Church Road and Esk Valley Winery.
Today Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s second biggest wine producing region with over 100 vineyards and more than 70 wineries producing both innovative and classic wine styles.
Most of Hawke’s Bay’s wineries produce less than 200 000 litres per annum and are family owned, providing a true boutique experience to complement award winning wines.
The special terroir of the Gimblett Gravels area produces some of the world’s finest full bodied reds. It lies on the flood plain and ancient riverbed of the Ngaruroro River, as does the acclaimed Ngatarawa – or Bridge Pa – Triangle, which is a sub-region on the same riverbed, on the south-western edge of the Heretaunga Plains.
For a detailed overview of Hawke’s Bay Wine see the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association.
Many wineries open their cellar doors for tastings and tours. Many also offer dining options ranging from casual al fresco lunches to silver service.
A popular option is to follow the wine trail to experience the very best of Hawke’s Bay wine.
Hawke’s Bay is also on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. Starting in Hawke’s Bay from the north, this self-drive, signposted route covers 380km down to Wairarapa, Wellington and across the Cook Strait to Marlborough.
Winery concerts are a must do in the summer months as well as a series of wine events throughout the year such as the Hawke’s Bay Wine Awards and Hawke's Bay Wine Auction.