In my last column, I recommended two “must visit” wineries in each of four wine regions from Northland to Hawke’s Bay. In this column, I continue the theme, with two top wineries in a further five regions, from Wairarapa to Central Otago. 


Ata Rangi

Ata Rangi is the dominant jewel in the already gem-encrusted Martinborough crown.

This small, family-owned organic winery has been producing wines of serious stature for more than 40 years. 

It is best known for its bold, age-worthy pinot noir, which is offered under five labels, three of which are from single vineyards. 

It also makes delicious riesling, punchy sauvignon blanc, barrel-fermented pinot gris, two serious chardonnays, a charming rosé, a bold blended red that can be cellared with confidence, and a late-harvest dessert wine when the weather allows. 

It is hard to pick a favourite – perhaps Ata Rangi Pinot Noir?

I highly recommend joining Ata Rangi’s 45-minute wine tasting, with groups limited to 10 people. There is no charge, but booking is essential. 

Luna Estate

I am a big fan of Luna Estate, particularly its riesling, which exhibits amazing purity and power. 

Its chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris are similarly impressive, as is the Silver River Pinot Noir and Blue Rock Syrah, both of which earned a spot on my “must buy” list. 

Luna Estate restaurant has a season-inspired menu which, with a little help from an enthusiastic waiter, can be successfully matched to the offerings on its wine list. 


Cloudy Bay

Every sauvignon blanc lover should make a pilgrimage to the winery that put New Zealand sauvignon blanc on the world wine map.

It is now part of the LVMH luxury goods group alongside such revered wine brands as Champagne Krug, Dom Pérignon, Château d’Yquem, Veuve Clicquot and Château Cheval Blanc (plus many others). 

A compelling reason to visit Cloudy Bay, apart from the quality of its wines, is lunch at Jack’s Raw Bar, which is famous for its freshly shucked oysters, clams and other seafood. 

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc has always been the star, but for my money, Cloudy Bay Te Wāhi Pinot Noir, Central Otago, occupies top slot. 

Yealands Estate

This large coastal winery opened its doors in 2008. It is quality winemaking on a grand scale and with a strong environmental conscience. 

The magnificent winery is pure architectural art as well as being effectively sustainable. 

Visitors are encouraged to take a self-guided “White Road” tour and to make use of the many sheltered picnic areas. 

They can also buy a selection of local cheeses and cured meats at the cellar door. 

Yealands makes a full range of wines, focusing on the varieties that perform well in Marlborough. 

I am impressed by its sauvignon blanc, particularly the Reserve or Single Block labels. 

It also makes one of Marlborough’s best lower-alcohol examples of sauvignon blanc under Yealands' “Lighter” label.


Neudorf Vineyards

Neudorf is a delight to visit. The cellar door is in a tastefully restored farm building complete with a sunny courtyard that is perfect for picnics. Visitors can buy picnic baskets containing local meats and cheeses. 

There is a small charge of $15 to taste a selection of Neudorf wines. For $110 a person, visitors can enjoy a tasting experience that includes a walk through the vineyard, a winery tour and a tasting of single-vineyard wines. Bookings are required.

The main attraction will always be Neudorf’s range of stylish wines, particularly its chardonnays, which range from very good to outstanding. 

Seifried Estate

Hermann and Agnes Seifried celebrated their first grape harvest 47 years ago and have been steadily growing their operation ever since, with the help of their three children. 

Today, Seifried Estate has 320 hectares of grapevines; by my calculation that makes it Nelson’s largest grape and wine producer. 

I have yet to dine at the winery restaurant, called Harvest Kitchen, but the staff make their own breads, pâtés and sauces, which is encouraging. In addition to Seifried wines, the restaurant also serves locally made Hop Federation craft beer and Capital Cider. 

Wine quality is high across the board, especially sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and the aromatic varieties. 

Sweet Agnes Riesling deserves a special mention. This luscious drop is NZ’s most awarded dessert wine. 

North Canterbury 

Greystone Wines

One of my favourite North Canterbury wine producers deserves to be high on the list of “must visit” wineries.

Greystone is 100% organic, using regenerative agriculture to promote soil and vine health. 

It is nice to know that wines have been made without the use of systemic sprays and even nicer to know that they are all delicious. 

Visitors to the Greystone Cellar Door can taste a flight of six wines for just $16 a person. I recommend you pay an extra $6 to taste the Reserve wines, which can be truly outstanding. 

You will almost certainly learn about the organic pinot noir, which is famously fermented among the vines to emphasise its unique fingerprint. 

Make the most of your visit by sitting down to a long lunch with a four-course menu matched to Greystone wines. 

Bell Hill

It’s got history, drama, beauty and passion. Most of all it has fantastic chardonnay and pinot noir. 

Bell Hill is a small, intensively cultivated vineyard in Waikari, about 15 minutes’ drive from Waipara. The vineyard is planted on a lime quarry that operated between 1917 and 1930. 

While draining a swamp on the property, owners Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen discovered a treasure trove of fossils, including bones from moa, giant Haast eagles, giant harrier hawks and many other vertebrates from up to 2000 years ago. 

Giesen and Veldhuizen are passionate about burgundy, the inspiration for Bell Hill. 

Under the heading “Visiting Us”, Bell Hill’s website states: “Bell Hill is not open to the public. When possible, visits may be arranged by appointment only. Please contact us for all enquiries and directions to the vineyard.” 

That is hardly a clear directive but it does suggest that the door is slightly ajar for those who are willing to phone first. 

Central Otago

Gibbston Valley

Gibbston Valley is the winery while Gibbston is the place that you drive through to visit the winery. 

Gibbston Valley is one of Central Otago’s earliest existing wineries. It was established in the early 1980s by winemaking pioneer Alan Brady, who released Central Otago’s first commercial vintage in 1987. 

Gibbston Valley must surely be the region's most popular winery. Visitors can dine at two attractive restaurants, taste wines at the cellar door, visit a cheesery and deli, or visit the winery's on-site spa. 

An interesting feature is an underground wine cave, a popular visitor attraction which Gibbston Valley claims is the first and largest of its type in NZ. Four hundred barrels are stored underground at a constant temperature and humidity.

Pinot noir is the hero here, with great examples from Bendigo and Gibbston. Try them both and pick a favourite.

Terra Sancta

Bannockburn is Central Otago’s sweet spot and Felton Road is Bannockburn’s sweet spot. 

Terra Sancta is at the far end of Felton Road and is set among some of the oldest vines in Bannockburn. 

It’s a winery that deserves to be taken seriously – very seriously. It is in the right place at the right time. 

Terra Sancta’s cellar door is a warm and welcoming haven that encourages visitors to relax in the cosy atmosphere indoors or move to the outdoor courtyard, with views across the vines to distant hills. 

It makes sense to join Terra Santa’s wine club, “Holy Terras”, to gain an immediate 15% discount on wine purchases and to gain access to library wines, invitations to events, private wine tours and complimentary tastings. 

My favourite wine? Terra Sancta Special Release First Vines Pinot Noir Rosé, a sensational wine with power, finesse and delicious-ness. Rosé doesn’t get much better than this.