New Zealand is situated in the Pacific Ocean, 1900 kilometres from Australia.
As a long, narrow land mass it has for the most part a maritime climate – however there are differences in soil type, aspect and situation.
The North Island is generally warmer – long sunshine hours, cool nights and a long growing season enable grapes to reach high levels of ripeness – sugar levels and flavour compounds, whilst retaining acidity.
South Island vineyards tend to be situated on the East Coast – protected from westerly winds and rain by the Southern Alps. The climate is cooler and soils are free draining. The exception here is Central Otago which is inland and has a continental climate. Here the summers are hot and the vines are cooled overnight by the Southern Alps. This gives a high diurnal range that slows the ripening process, allowing the grapes to retain acidity.