Ultimate Guide to the Canterbury Wine Region

Famous Wines of the Canterbury Wine Region

Looking for a great wine and an unbeatable price? It seems as if New Zealand might be the next big thing, but even with its growing popularity, it hasn't always been so. Several wines were pulled in the 1980s, and a serious rebuilding effort was mounted in the 1990s, under which the country's production once again flourished [source: Robinson].

Today, Sauvignon Blanc is quickly becoming "the" wine of New Zealand, with a supremely recognizable "crisp, grassy" flavor [source: Canterbury Winegrowers Association]. But everything from Riesling to Pinot Noir and Merlot have worked their way into the hearts and palates of people worldwide, and should you want Chardonnay from the southernmost wineries of the world, you'll be able to find it [source: NZ Wine].

Which bottles and years are getting the rave reviews? Try one of these gems from Canterbury:

  • Pinot Noir: 1982 St. Helena
  • Riesling: 2004 Pegasus Bay, 2004 Sherwood Clearwater
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Giesen Sauvignon Blanc

[sources: Clarke, Sbrocco, Crean]

South of the border and south of pretty much everything, these wines have their own distinct flavor of sun and style packed into every shippable drop. Now you can get out there and sample some for yourself.

Be sure to check out the next page for more helpful links.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • "British Colonists Reach New Zealand." This Day In History, The History Channel. (Accessed 02/14/09)http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4697
  • "Canterbury." Wine Tourism Network." (Accessed 02/14/09)http://www.wtn.co.nz/regions/canterbury.asp
  • "Canterbury." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/93049/Canterbury
  • "Canterbury- Regional Information." New Zealand Tourism Guide. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.tourism.net.nz/new-zealand/about-new-zealand/regions/canterbury/regional-information.html
  • "Canterbury's Revival." Wine NZ Magazine. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.winenzmagazine.co.nz/index.php?page=canterbury-s-revival
  • "Canterbury Wine Region." Four Corners (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.fourcorners.co.nz/new-zealand/canterbury-wine/
  • Clarke, Oz. "Oz Clarke's New Wine Atlas. P. 317. (Accessed 02/15/09) http://books.google.com/books?id=nSoxj_3e89MC&pg=PA317&lpg=PA317&dq=wine+atlas+oz+clark+canterbury&source=bl&ots=Cb2ivC_CRx&sig=eKYk7cuKqn5wPaqww4AXGK4PBkw&hl=en&ei=TbKYSaHTEKTUMNXTjPIL&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result
  • Cooper, Michael. "Canterbury." 100% New Zealand. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.newzealand.com/travel/about-nz/features/gourmets-garden/lifestyles/canterbury/canterbury-wine.cfm
  • "Cork comes unscrewed." New Zealand Herald. 11/07/08 (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wine/news/article.cfm?c_id=365&objectid=10530412
  • Crean, Mike. "Grapes of Graft." The Press. 11/05/07 (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4259919a13135.html
  • "Demand for Cultural Tourism." Ministry of Heritage and Culture. 9/26/08. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.mch.govt.nz/publications/cultural-tourism-research/CulturalTourimResearchP1.html
  • "Farm counts tables." Statistics New Zealand.06/07 (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.stats.govt.nz/tables/2007-ag-prod/Farm+counts+tables.htm
  • Gibson, Michael. "The Wines of New Zealand." Action Wine and Spirits. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.actionwine.com/education/new_zealand_info_packet_action_wine.pdf
  • Goode, Jamie. "Finding Closure." Wines and Vines. (Accessed 02/14/09)http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?content=57269&section=features
  • "History of Christchurch and Canterbury." Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism. (Accessed 02/14/09)http://www.christchurchnz.com/canterbury/history/
  • Holding, Diane. "Geography of the Waipara Valley Wine Region." Waipara Valley Wine Growers. 2007. (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.waiparawine.co.nz/region/geography
  • Isle, Ray. "The Essence of Pinot Noir." Food and Wine. 05/08. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/the-essence-of-pinot-noir
  • Johnston, Tim. "New Zealand Builds A Nest Big Enough To Save Kiwis." New York Times. 12/28/07 (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/28/world/asia/28newzealand.html
  • McCoy, Elin. "Rocky Start, Smooth Finish." Bloomberg Market News. 02/09 (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.bloomberg.com.au/news/marketsmag/mm_0209_story6.html
  • "News." New Zealand Wine/ The New Zealand Winegrowers Association. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.nzwine.com/news/
  • "New Zealand's Oldest Winery." Mission Estate Winery. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.missionestate.co.nz/history/
  • "New Zealand Wine." New Zealand Wine/ The New Zealand Winegrowers Association. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.nzwine.com/intro/
  • "North Canterbury Food and Wine Trail Launch." Scoop, New Zealand's Independent News Media. 04/15/08. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK0804/S00149.htm
  • Robinson, Jancis. "New Zealand." Jancis Robinson.com 9/06/08. (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a200808079.html
  • Sbrocco, Leslie. "Explore New Zealand with this Quick Kiwi Primer." Tasting Notes. Epicurious. (Accessed 02/23/2009) http://www.epicurious.com/promo/tastingnotes/tastingnotes_march07/tn_mar07_nofooter.html
  • Sbrocco, Leslie. "New Zealand, A Regional Look at Kiwi Country." Wine Review Online. 04/17/07 (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.winereviewonline.com/leslie_sbrocco_on_kiwi_regions.cfm
  • "Sheep Farming." Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.teara.govt.nz/Places/Canterbury/Canterbury/8/ENZ-Resources/Standard/1/en
  • Sluys, Siona. "Research in Geography." University of Canterbury, College of Science/Geography. (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.geog.canterbury.ac.nz/research/masters/shonas.shtml
  • "The Great Cork Debate." Wine Spectator. 4/04/05. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.winespectator.com/Wine/Features/0,1197,2650,00.html
  • "The Wines of Canterbury." 2008. (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.can"Wines of New Zealand." An Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 11/19/08 (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.teara.govt.nz/1966/W/WinesOfNewZealand/WinesOfNewZealand/enterburywine.co.nz/mc/canterbury_wine.asp
  • "Welcome to Christchurch and Canterbury, New Zealand's South Island." Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.christchurchnz.com/canterbury/
  • "Welcome to the new Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association Website!" Gimblett Gravels. (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.gimblettgravels.com/
  • "Wine. NZ wineries, Canterbury." Cuisine. (Accessed 02/14/09) http://www.cuisine.co.nz/index.cfm?pageId=426
  • "Wine Info." Canterbury Winegrowers Association. (Accessed 02/15/09) http://www.canterburywine.co.nz/mc/wine_styles.asp