Hawke’s Bay New Zealand is an historic region where the first grapes were planted in 1851. Located on the east coast of the north island is New Zealand’s second largest wine region best known for Bordeaux Blends, Syrah and burgundy-style Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Dessert wines are also a favourite from the region and can be found in many of the cellar doors. Wine tourism thrives in this sunny, temperate climate with an abundance of accommodation and eateries available.
Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s second largest wine producing region, and has a bounty of cellar doors, winery restaurants, vineyard accommodation, and experiences to show for it. This is a dream destination for wine lovers, easily accessible via the Napier Airport. The region offers a plethora of ways to experience the highly-accoladed wines of the region, from well-developed cycle trails, to architecture and wine tours in classic cars. The diversity in winestyles is matched by the diversity in landscape, as the region’s wineries and tasting rooms are scattered throughout plains, mountain peaks and valleys, and coastal cliffs. Wine and food is a way of life in Hawke’s Bay, celebrated with festivals, markets, and events throughout the year.
Although the maritime influence of the Pacific Ocean extends into much of Hawke’s Bay, the two grape growing areas located directly on the coast enjoy the most dramatic effects of the temperate climate and long growing season. The gravelly soils of Bay View in the northern Esk River Valley area and Te Awanga in the South have achieved recognition for premium Chardonnay and early ripening reds, including Pinot Noir.
The vineyards at Havelock North on the slopes of Te Mata Peak have been an important feature of Hawke’s Bay since the 1890’s. More recently the hillside terraces have been re-established at Bay View and new hillside vineyards have been planted in the Esk River Valley region and Maraekakaho. With their aspect to the sun, and ability to shed cool night air the hillsides are predominantly planted in classic red varieties.
Some of the region’s earliest wineries began in areas closest to commercial activity. These include the extensive plantings at Korokipo as well as Taradale and Meanee where the history of Hawke’s Bay winemaking began. Further inland are Bridge Pa, Gimblett Gravels and Ohiti. These areas were formed over several thousands of years by the changing course of the lower Ngaruroro River as it left red metal, free draining alluvial soils, gravel and stony terraces. The accumulated heat and day/night temperature differences, together with the free draining qualities soils are the reason many of Hawke’s Bay’s wineries and vineyards have established plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varieties here.