The Auckland region includes Matakana, West Auckland, Kumeu, Waiheke Island, Clevedon, Awhitu
Henderson, Kumeu and Huapai to the northwest of Auckland's city centre have a long winemaking tradition and boast an array of both world renowned and boutique wineries. Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are popular varieties grown with fine examples of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir also found.
Auckland’s vineyards have more recently spread beyond Northwest Auckland into Waiheke Island, Matakana and Clevedon.
- Warkworth and Matakana in Matakana region.
- Oneroa and Onetangi on Waiheke Island.
- Kumeu and Huapai in Kumeu Wine Country (West Auckland).
- Clevedon in South Auckland.
Waiheke Island, in the Hauraki Gulf, a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, was established from the early 1980's as a premium district for the production of high quality red wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It has since expanded to include Syrah, Chardonnay and other varietals that perform particularly well in the warm, dry summer climate of Waiheke.
Discover Waiheke Island
Just 35 minutes by ferry from Downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island has become known as New Zealand's ‘Island of Wine' - home to a dedicated group of award-winning winegrowers who have successfully matched the unique maritime climate and ancient soil structures to the selection of classical grape varieties in order to produce red and white wines with distinctive varietal character.
With a total planted area of just 216 hectares divided among 30 growers, wine production is small and top vintages are keenly awaited with labels such as Goldwater Estate, Stonyridge Larose, Passage Rock and Cable Bay having an international following and most small producers having a loyal mail order clientele.
Waiheke is also the ‘Island of wine tourism', attracting over 1,000,000 visitors a year and providing the main economic driver for the island's 8,000 permanent residents. In the November to March summer months, when the vines are in full leaf, the resident population swells to 40,000 and the restaurants, cafes and art galleries do a roaring business.
The principal varieties now grown on the island are Syrah, Chardonnay and Merlot.
Matakana, on the east coast about one hour's drive north of Auckland city is also producing some classy wines, including Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, plus reds based on Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Matakana is a small New Zealand town situated 10km east of Warkworth and less than one hour's drive north of Auckland.
Premium wines have been produced in the area for some time and there are several new vineyards being developed.
Almost all the vineyards are on slopes, which helps to drain the clay soils. Traditionally a red wine growing region there are now some outstanding white wines - especially Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. However the classic red varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinotage, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese have shown consistent excellence
Auckland's most recent premium wine district, Clevedon has established small pockets of vines in the rolling farmlands about half an hour south of the city. A wide range of varieties is cultivated – including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay, plus more unexpected varieties such as Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Montepulciano.
Climatically, Auckland enjoys warm, primarily frost-free conditions with relatively high rainfall. Auckland vineyards are established on clay soils of volcanic, greywacke or mixed alluvial origin.
Many of New Zealand's oldest wine families still calling this warm and fertile region home, after settling here nearly 100 years ago. The sub-region's old Chardonnay and Merlot vines produce fruit that is used to create stylish wines, which have gained much international acclaim.
*Photo credit Man’O’War, Waiheke Island