Canterbury wineries: Visit exclusive estates

Canterbury on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island is renowned for its verdant mountain landscapes that tumble towards pristine Pacific Ocean beaches – which happen to create ideal conditions for wine growing.

The region’s fertile soils, warm summers and cold, clear winters encourage a range of elegant and expressive cool climate wines, most notably from Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that can be sampled during typical tours of a Canterbury winery.

At Wine Paths, our local expert in New Zealand can organise exclusive tours of Canterbury wineries Canterbury wineries, including elaborate tastings, fine dining experiences, luxury accommodation and some unique activities.All of our private tours can be individually tailored to meet your exact requirements, ensuring every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – sampling world renowned wines surrounded by New Zealand’s signature scenery.The surrounding glacial mountain ranges not only provide Canterbury wineries with spectacular panoramic views, but also cool sea breezes while simultaneously shielding the region from harsh weather systems and irrigating the soil with meltwater descending from their snowy peaks.

New Zealand’s fastest growing wine region can be divided into three main sub-regions: the Canterbury Plains and the Waipara and Waitaki Valleys. North Canterbury wineries in the Waipara Valley are the most established and popular among visitors to the area who can explore it as part of the so-called ‘Alpine Pacific Triangle’ driving route, which also includes Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura.Waipara is also considered as the ‘greenest wine area in the world’ courtesy of the collaborative efforts of many winegrowers to develop a sustainability project.

Cellar door tastings at a typical Canterbury winery offer the chance to sample celebrated vintages and the distinct influences that the region’s soil and climate have on different varieties – for instance, Waipara’s extended, hot autumn gives rise to rich, spicy Pinot Noirs and more racy Riesling.Although large commercial investors such as Pernod Ricard, Villa Maria and Constellation have invested in the area, most Canterbury wineries are small, boutique estates that are dedicated to producing premium, handcrafted wines

Canterbury’s contribution to New Zealand’s entire production is only 3% from just 1,419 hectares of vineyards, although most of the region’s wines are high quality vintages that that have been applauded on the international stage – meaning New Zealand’s ‘best kept secret’ is unlikely to remain hidden for much longerWine tours to the region have become increasingly popular, especially since  Canterbury wineries are easily accessed from the tourist resort of Christchurch – which can be reached within an hour, while New Zealand’s largest wine growing region Marlborough is also within driving distance.Canterbury is also famed for its fresh local produce and there is no better place to sample both the region’s elegant wines and mouth-watering local cuisine than at the annual North Canterbury Food and Wine Festival.

Set among the oak trees of the Glenmark Domain, many respected Canterbury wineries and local food producers have combined to showcase that area’s exceptional natural produce at the event held every year in March.Although the event has been running for some time, a recent change in marketing strategy has focused on creating an independent, countryside fete-like atmosphere where visitors can enjoy an eclectic range of food stalls, a diverse selection of the region’s wines, live music and family-friendly entertainment.

If you are interested in visiting a Canterbury winery, contact Wine Paths for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a bespoke trip.

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