The Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions are best known for three particular wines. This specialization in only a few wine varieties makes sense for an area that doesn't have the largest production capabilities. Those three wines, in order of importance, are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. Although the regions focus most of their attention on only three wines, each winery puts a different spin on the varieties. The diversity in flavors and characteristics really gives the consumer a unique view into the character of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
The New Zealand Chardonnay known around the world is complex and fruit-driven. The Bay of Plenty's product is no different. The Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red grape grown in vineyards in the Waikato region. The Sauvignon Blanc from the Bay of Plenty region is different than the South Island's -- it's known for its richer flavors. There's a tendency to notice the melon, nectarine and other similar fruit undertones [source: New Zealand Trade and Enterprise].
Though Bay of Plenty hones its skills on the big three mentioned above, you shouldn't overlook the region if you're considering other varieties. Just because the area isn't particularly known for other wines, it doesn't mean you can't find them. In the Bay of Plenty area, it's a good idea to be on the lookout for examples of blends of Merlot and Cabernet, Botrytised Riesling and Méthode Champenoise [source: New Zealand's Information Network].
Now you have a head start for further exploration of the Bay of Plenty wine region. Take these bits of information along with you so you can impress all your friends. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back for being a little worldlier now, but please enjoy kiwis and wine responsibly. Cheers!