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Wines from Hawkes Bay

Hawkes Bay – The Home of the Finest Wines

Hawkes Bay, which is situated on the eastern coast of North Island in New Zealand, is found to be an abundant source of fine wines.

Not just today, this region was found to be producing wines right from the year 1851.

This region, which is having a well-developed wine tourism trail, is the second largest wine region of the country. So, what makes the wines from this region so special?

Wine grape varieties

What’s very interesting about this region’s viticulture? What’s the current status of viniculture, and what are the major wine grape varieties of this region? All this will be answered in this article, and more.

History of Hawkes Bay Viticulture

As I mentioned above, this region is among the oldest wine regions of the country.

The history of winemaking in Hawkes Bay started with the vine plantings made by the missionaries with an aim of producing the sacramental wines.

This region is sharing the history with other New World wine regions like California and Chile. The region’s first commercial sale was found to have happened in the year 1870.

From there, the industry saw a rapid growth and by the 1920s, a thriving wine industry flourished in the region.

Some of the wineries, which were established during those times, are found to be operating even today.

At present, the Hawkes Bay region is found to be home to more than 4770 hectares of vineyards producing almost 45 tons of wine every year. Today, some of the region’s wines are enjoying an international reputation as the world’s best.

Overview of Hawkes Bay Viticultural Zone

Hawkes Bay is seemed to be the most versatile wine producing region in the country. A major reason for this is found to be its varied soil patterns.

The soils of this region are found to be mostly volcanic in nature.

These geologically young soils are known to have deposited by the rivers over the years. Other soil types that are common in this region are free-draining sand, silt, clay, and gravel. These are the soil types that are commonly found in the best vineyard sites in the region.

Alcohol and Distilleries

Gimblett Gravels

Wine experts would say it would be unfair to describe Hawkes Bay without mentioning the Gimblett Gravels, a distinctive terroir of the region, which comprises of shingle soils along with warmer temperatures.

This terroir is particularly suitable for the cultivation of Bordeaux grape varieties and Syrah.

Located at 39.4° S, the region is found to be one the hottest, as well as the sunniest regions in the country. In general, the region is found to be experiencing a maritime type of climate with warmer and drier summers and longer autumns.

A maritime climate would typically mean that the warmth being brought by the longer sunshine hours will be moderated by the giant Pacific Ocean.

These conditions prevailing in this region altogether are making the Hawkes Bay excellent for vine cultivation.

Wines of Hawkes Bay

The region is found to be capable of producing a wide range of wine varieties, that too with the higher standards.

Typically, the region is famous for its Merlot-Cabernet blend varietals and Syrah varieties.

On the whiter side, the Chardonnay varietals are equally popular by being aromatic and consistently good.

Besides these, the climatic conditions along with the longer growing season in the region are allowing the winemakers to produce some of the great dessert wines.

As such, the key wine grape varieties of the region are found to be:

  • Syrah
  • Merlot
  • Malbec
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Pinot Noir
  • Pinot Gris
  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc

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Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam


I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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