Nelson makes a hefty buck or two from its agricultural pursuits, whether those pursuits are related to food or wine. Nelson does it all: the growing, the harvesting and the eating [source: Wines of New Zealand].
Nelson is a small region, so it has a pretty uniform climate, and its agriculture doesn't vary much. But there is some diversity in soil types because of the varying topography of the region. The Moutere Hills have loamy clay soil, and the soil on the sunny Waimea Plains is more rocky. So winemaking is scattered throughout the area, and the wines differ depending on the soil. In general, regional horticulturists consider Nelson to be a dependable grape-growing area.
Nelson is a coastal region with mountains to the west that tend to shield it from rain -- it ranks second in New Zealand in sunlight hours per year, but does get more rain than neighboring Marlborough, which is known to be rather dry [source: Kiwi Wineries]. The temperatures are generally cool, so the area doesn't support warm-weather grapes, like Cabernet, very well.
Click to the last page to learn about the world-renowned wines of the Nelson wine region.