The Art Deco enclave of Napier presents one of the most appreciated stops along the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, which visits the country’s most influential wine growing regions in Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington and Marlborough.
As the most attractive town in the Hawke’s Bay region in the country’s South Island, the Napier wine trail is a typical starting point for visiting wine enthusiasts who have been flocking to New Zealand to enjoy the beautiful weather, spectacular scenery and arguably the world’s finest Sauvignon Blanc.
Tracing the Napier wine trail is akin to travelling back in time to the 1930s, courtesy of the uniformed, pastel coloured Art Deco buildings that have lined the streets since the town was devastated by an earthquake in 1931 before being completely restored in the style of the era. There are other cities famed for their Art Deco architecture, such as Miami and Santa Barbara, but few carry the same quaint, colonial charm as Napier. Each year the town celebrates its national heritage by staging an annual Art Deco festival, an incredibly stylish affair that appreciates all things from the 1930s era including vintage cars, fashion and music.
When not sampling incredible wines along the Napier wine trail or marvelling at the colonial architecture, the town also offers some coastal attractions including stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the opportunity to witness the world’s largest gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers.
There are around 72 wineries in the Hawke’s Bay region, which includes the towns of Napier and its neighbour Hastings, that can be explored as part of the Napier wine trail. There are recognisable brand names such as Te Mata Estate, Church Road and Mission Estate, but the majority are family-owned boutique estates specialising in and crafted premium wines. Syrah and Chardonnay are among the most revered wine styles from Hawke’s Bay, although red Bordeaux style blends, Pinot Gris and New Zealand’s ubiquitous Sauvignon Blanc are all successfully grown in the sun-bleached vineyards that are scattered over rolling hills.
When not sampling incredible wines along the Napier wine trail or marvelling at the colonial architecture, the town also offers some coastal attractions including stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the opportunity to witness the world’s largest gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers. And, the Marine Parade is home to the statue of Pania of the Reef (a Maori mythical figure), which is one of the most photographed tourist attractions in New Zealand. From the sun-kissed coastal region of Hawke’s Bay, the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail travels to Wairarapa, which features small boutique wineries in the areas around three towns – Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton – that are renowned for producing subtle expressions of world class Pinot Noir.
The trail then continues to Wellington where visitors can explore the vibrant city and stunning coastline of New Zealand’s capital city, which was recently voted at the world’s most liveable city by a Deutche Bank survey. As well as being surrounded by wine country, Wellington also has a reputation for sublime craft beers and coffee. From Wellington, the trail crosses the Cook Strait to end at Marlborough in New Zealand’s South Island. This is the country’s largest wine growing region, which accounts for almost 80% of total production and is where the classic Sauvignon Blanc that brought New Zealand international recognition in the 1990s was first created.
There are over 141 wineries in Marlborough, including some of the most recognisable names in New Zealand viticulture, such as Cloudy Bay Vineyards, Brancott Estate and Oyster Bay, with wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Merlot and Chardonnay.
If you are interested in visiting vineyards on the Napier wine trail or elsewhere in New Zealand, contact our local expert for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a bespoke visit that can be tailor made to meet your exact requirements.
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