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Explore Wineries in Canterbury New Zealand

Updated on September 13, 2014
Grapes ready for harvest
Grapes ready for harvest

Canterbury wine is among the best in NZ

Earthquakes aside, if you enjoy wine and happen to be in Canterbury New Zealand you've discovered a match made in heaven. I'm in the process of checking up on the wineries here since all the seismic activity and will update content as I do so. So far the state of wine in Canterbury is looking ever promising!

Though not the largest wine growing region in New Zealand, Canterbury's city of Christchurch now represents the country as its official wine capital in the exclusive Great Wine Capitals Global Network. This honour is shared by only a handful of other regions in the world, including Napa Valley in the US and Bordeaux in France.

When you arrive you'll see the region's distinctive sprawling plains and golden hills - a perfect environment for growing grapes. The stony land from old river courses, crisp winter frosts, and hot summer winds give Canterbury the right conditions to forge a reputation for quality wines and wineries.

Canterbury's wines are known for their intense, concentrated flavours - particularly the Sauvignon Blanc, Reisling and Pinot Noir. Fine Merlot, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and other varieties are also produced here.

This region is dotted with wineries that will welcome you for wine tasting, wine tours and exceptional regional cuisine. All Canterbury's main wineries, including those in the famous region of Waipara, are within reach of an easy day trip from the city of Christchurch. Some are less than a half hour's drive from the central city, making a winery visit easy even on shorter trips to Canterbury.

Make sure you visit Canterbury and enjoy this beautiful region's tradition of award-winning wines.

Rosendale Winery, Christchurch, New Zealand
Rosendale Winery, Christchurch, New Zealand

Wineries Close to Christchurch City

Tucked into the base of the Port Hills is a country winery setting close to the heart of Christchurch. At Rossendale Country Restaurant and Winery you can taste award-winning Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer while enjoying lunch or dinner. Wines from Rossendale are medal winners from competitions such as the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, the International Chardonnay Competition and the Liquorland Top 100. The restaurant has also won awards, including the New Zealand Beef and Lamb Hallmark of Excellence.

I heard a rumour that ownership of Rossendale is changing hands, so will report back soon about what that may mean for visitors. Having tasted their Pinot Noir I hope nothing much will change! Their website indicates that the winery and restaurant are thankfully open for business.

The photo here shows Rossendale Winery on the Old Tai Tapu Road, near Christchurch.

A short drive past Rossendale onto Banks Peninsula takes you to the Kaituna Valley Vineyard on Banks Peninsula. This is also an award winning winery, having taken home a range of national and international awards including the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, and also the Sydney International Wine Competition with its Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Don't miss a visit to Kaituna Valley Vineyard - be sure to make an appointment.

The photo below shows beautiful Autumnal vines in Kaituna Valley, near Christchurch.

Autumn vines near Kaituna, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
Autumn vines near Kaituna, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
Pegasus Bay - Fine Waipara Wine
Pegasus Bay - Fine Waipara Wine | Source

Winery Day Trips in Waipara, Canterbury

Once you've explored the vineyards closest to Christchurch, there are many more to be enjoyed just a little further afield. A day trip in Canterbury can introduce you to many prestigious wineries. An especially popular destination for wine lovers is Waipara, just north of Christchurch.

The land around Waipara boasts vineyards such as Fiddler's Green, Muddy Water Wines, Floating Mountain, Mount Cass, Glenmark Wines, Sherwood Estate Wines, Waipara Hills. Some vineyards, such as Pegasus Bay Winery and Restaurant, provide excellent food as well as beautiful wine. The Pegasus Bay Winery Restaurant has won Cuisine magazine's NZ Winery Restaurant of the Year title several times and is a great place to stop for lunch.

We have experienced some incredible meals at Pegasus Bay so I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit. Be prepared to stay longer than you expect, and possibly leave with a case of wine! A few samples in the Peg Bay tasting room were enough to convince us. Their 2004 Pinot Noir was incredible and I haven't found anything that comes close to it yet. Sadly that wine is unavailable now. Luckily their more recent pressings are also of extremely high quality. We will always remember their 2004 though...

Wines from this part of Canterbury are both national and international award winners. Awards and trophies have been won from various competitions, including the International Wine & Spirit Competition, the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards, the San Francisco International Wine Competition and the New Zealand International Wine Show.

The tradition of fine food and wine here makes this area a perfect venue for the ever popular Waipara Wine And Food Celebration. Visit the Waipara Valley Winegrowers website to find out more. You may want to plan your visit to Canterbury around this event!

Greystone Wines

Greystone Wines is aptly named. Canterbury's characteristic grey flat river stones are everywhere, and suggest the suitability of the ground here for great wine. This winery is family owned and has done well in the 2014 Canterbury wine awards. Look out in particular for their 2012 Pinot Noir. As gold medal winner it will be in big demand.

Muddy Water Vineyard

In this YouTube clip a French traveller investigates the Muddy Water winery, including a history of the winery, interviews with the winemaker, plus explanation about the wines and wine production at the vineyard. French subtitles.

Pegasus Bay Winery

Pegasus Bay Winery is known for not only its wine and cuisine but also its live music events. One of the performers, Hera, made a short movie clip introducing the winery. Hera is an Icelandic-born singer-songwriter (named 2003 Best Female Artist at the Icelandic Music Awards) based in New Zealand. She rates Pegasus Bay Winery as one of her favourite places in New Zealand. I completely agree!

Daniel Schuster Winery

This short clip by a winery visitor shows the vineyards and the tasting room at Daniel Schuster winery. Sadly, the winery saw a change of ownership and we haven't visited since the handover. When we visited during Danny Schuster's time the staff were friendly and knowledgeable - inevitably we left with several bottles of his superb wine after such a warm welcome. I understand he is working internationally now (see the YouTube clip below) but Danny certainly left his mark on Waipara.

Daniel Schuster interviewed in 2011

The Daniel Schuster winery in Waipara as it was pre-2009

Grape vines, Canterbury, New Zealand
Grape vines, Canterbury, New Zealand

What Are Your Favourite Canterbury Wines and Wineries?

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    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 8 years ago

      Why don't you add this lens to the Best Islands group? It can be hosted in the New Zealand section too!