The North Canterbury wine region spans nearly 200km of the South Island’s eastern coastline, with the magnificent Alps to the west and the sweeping Pacific Ocean to the east.
The cool, dry climate with good sunshine and long growing season promote full varietal expression; wines are renowned for their intense flavours, richness and complex fruit.
Exploration of new subregions inland from North Canterbury towards Weka Pass, forecasts increasing depth, further cementing the region’s overall reputation for elegant, expressive Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Aromatics in particular, though numerous other varieties are planted with excellent results.
As expected across large and diverse terrains, soil types vary: North Canterbury benefits from gravel deposits from its eponymous river plus limestone-derived clays on the hillsides which suit Pinot Noir. The vast, flat Canterbury Plains surrounding Christchurch comprise mainly of shallow free draining stony soils with varying alluvial deposits courtesy of the many braided river systems crossing the Plains.
Waipara Valley, North Canterbury
An exciting, fast-growing sub-region around an hour’s drive north of Christchurch, producing vivid, eloquent Rieslings going from strength to strength. Soils are gravels and clays. As sites and meso-climates are explored, evermore distinctive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay emerge. Though the drying nor’wester can challenge, the surrounding hills offer protection and a slightly warmer climate than the rest of Canterbury.
Canterbury Plains, North Canterbury
A large area with vines planted from Banks Peninsula on the outskirts of Christchurch, west to Rolleston and West Melton then sweeping northward towards Waipara Valley, this predominantly flat (or very gently contoured) land has free-draining, shallow greywacke-based gravel soils and a slightly cooler climate. Riesling and Pinot Noir are highlights, with the longer growing season giving graceful, expressive wines.
You can read more about the North Canterbury wine region here.