Catvignon Blanc

Where can we find Catvignon Blanc?

These remote islands at the end of the world extend 1,100 km from the sandy beaches and subtropical climate of the Northland peninsula to the rainy coast of The Catlins.

Its location means that the oceanic influence shaped its wine regions and created the conditions for the world’s most southerly vineyards. Excessive rainfall can be a challenge for winegrowers, especially in the South Island, where the vast majority of plantings are located in the east, protected from rain-bearing westerly winds by the Southern Alps. Since the 1990s, New Zealand has been closely associated with Sauvignon Blanc, the signature grape of this isolated country. 

The main wine regions of New Zealand are:




Hawke’s Bay





Central Otago

Northland: The birthplace of New Zealand’s wine

✾ Northland: Located in the province of the same name, Northland is the northernmost wine region of New Zealand. The first vines of the country were planted here in 1819 by missionaries. However, it was with the arrival of Croatian immigrants that this wine region started to take its actual shape. The main grape varieties are Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Gris. Northland is considered the warmest wine region of the country.


The grape variety Sauvignon Blanc is not only well known for giving me my name: it’s also the signature grape variety of New Zealand. Here, it produces wines in a different style from the wines it produces in France, in regions like Sancerre. The Sauvignon Blanc of New Zealand usually displays complex primary flavours and aromas: floral, green bell pepper, lemon, lime and tropical fruits like pineapple or mango. It can be found in most New Zealand wine regions but the wine region most closely associated with Sauvignon Blanc in the country is Malborough.

I’m a very lucky cat: my humans keep me indoors and take care of me, so I can leave a healthier and longer life and can coexist with other animals. I regularly patrol the house in search for mice and other introduced rodents that endanger native species such as birds and reptiles. They make sure I’m always at home and happy, play with me and give me a lot of love.

In the picture, I’m wearing a piu piu (maori skirt) and carry a kete (basket) made of palm leaves, that I can use for harvest. Beside me you can see a titi torea stick and a green bell pepper, for scale. Of course this picture is a fiction: I do not help with the harvest and prefer to be at home playing titi torea with the kids.

Auckland: Where tradition meets modernity

Established at the beginning of the 20th century, Auckland is one of the oldest wine regions of New Zealand. As well as Northland, Croatian immigrants played an important role in the introduction of winemaking to this region that now host some of New Zealand’s biggest wine companies. Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah and Pinot Gris constitute the vast majority of the plantings.

The main subregions are:

✾ Waiheke Island: Known in New Zealand as the Wine Island, the warm and dry maritime climate present ideal conditions for the growing of Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Due to the limited size of most of the vineyards, wines tend to reach high prices.

✾ Kumeu: Home of many of many of the oldest wine families of New Zealand, the arrival of Croatian immigrants after World War contributed decisively to the development of this warm and fertile region. The main grape varieties are Chardonnay, with more than 80% of the plantings, Merlot and Syrah.

✾ Matakana: Just north of Aukland lies this wine subregion, one of the main wine tourism destinations of the country. Matakana wineries are mostly small, family-run and production often is quite limited. The most planted grape varieties are Pinot Gris, Syrah and Cabernet. Careful vine management and site selection is needed in order to control yields and fungal diseases constitutes a big concern due to the warm and wetter climate of both Auckland and Northland regions.


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Gisborne: The land of the rising Chardonnay

Considered the world’s Easternmost wine producing region, most of the wine plantations are concentrated around Gisborne city. Here Chardonnay is king and most than a half of the hectares are planted with this variety.

The most important subregions are:

✾ Ormond: The first vines planted in Gisborne were planted in this area that also includes the Golden Slope, an escarpment with a slight inclination and good drainage that is home of some of the best Chardonnay wines of this region.

✾ Patutahi: Almost one third of the region’s vine hectares are located in this area. Here, rainfall is lower than in the rest of Gisborne and the well-drained clay and silt soils creates ideal conditions for the growing of Gewürstraminer.

✾ Manutuke: While Chardonnay is, again, the main variety, this area is also well known for its wines from Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. In certain parts, winegrowers can find the conditions necessary for the development of Noble Rot.

Hawke’s Bay: A land of diversity

The second largest wine region of New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay has earnt an international reputation for both its red and white wines. It has the longest sunshine hours of all the main wine regions of the country and it’s home of some of its oldest wineries, like Te Mata or Mission Estate.

The main subregions are:

✾ Gimblett Gravels: One of the few geographical indication defined by a soil type, the well-drained heat-absorbing gravy soils of Gimblett Gravels presents the ideal conditions for the growing of varieties like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

✾ Bridge Pa Triangle: Home of some of the region’s best wines together with Gimblett Gravels, this area present a huge diversity of soils, from gravy soils to shallow clay-loam soils. The main varieties planted here are also black: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah

✾ Te Mata: This subregion share the name with the Te Mata estate, one of the main wineries of New Zealand. It posseses some of the oldest Syrah vines of the country. Other relevant varieties planted are Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

✾ Te Awanga: Located in the coast, this subregion benefits from the cool ocean breezes that helps reduce the temperature of the vines and retain more acidity. It has achieved international recognition for premium Chardonnay as well as Pinot Noir.

✾ Central Hawke’s Bay: Located inland at an average height of 300 meters above the sea level, this coolest subregion allows the correct development of grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

Wairarapa: Pinot Noir at its best

Located east to the capital, Wellington, Wairarapa is a diverse region made up of a number of small vineyards spread over a wide area. The area lies on the rain shadow of the Tararua range, that protects the region for the wetter westerly winds. Pinot Noir is the most planted variety, accounting for almost a half of the vines of the whole region.

The main subregions are:

✾ Masterton: The first region where grapes were planted, one of its main characteristics is the huge diurnal range of this area. Frost can be a challenge for wine producers. The main grape varieties are Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

✾ Gladstone: Its free-draining river terraces and clay soils creates the perfect conditions for the ripening of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.

✾ Martinborough: Famous for its Pinot Noir, considered the best of New Zealand and one of the best of the world, Martinborough wineries are usually small and family-owned. The growing season is amongst the longest in New Zealand.


Malborough:The backbone of New Zealand’s wine industry

The heartland of the wine industry in New Zealand, Marlborough is, without any doubt the first name that comes to mind when thinking about the wines of the austral country. It was this region that put New Zealand on the map with its outstanding Sauvignon Blanc. Around three quarters of the country’s wine production and 70% of its vineyard area, the vast majority of the wine exported by New Zealand comes from this dry and sunny region.

The main subregions are:

Wairau Valley: its river terraces and deep alluvial valley soils makes Wairau Valley an excellent place for wine growing. Almost 45% of the wine produced in Marlborough come from this region. The main grape varieties are Sauvignon Blanc, followed by Riesling and Pinot Noir. Sparkling wine following the traditional method is also produced.

Awatere Valley: Cooler, windier and drier, this region is well known for its plantings of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

✾ Southern Valleys: Slightly cooler and drier than Wairau Valley, it accounts for roughly one quarter of the region’s wine production. Its soils were heavily influenced by glacier erosion and can be very diverse. The main grape varieties are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Nelson: a boutique wine region

Nelson: Located west of Marlborough, in the South island, this region is one of the sunniest of New Zealand. Wine growing dates of the 19th century, when German settlers brought with them the first plantings. Today, the rising Sauvignon Blanc has become the most widely planted variety, followed by Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris but it is still possible to find Riesling vines as well as other aromatic varieties such as Gewurztraminer.

Canterbury: The lands of the Cantabrians 

Canterbury: The largest GI of New Zealand, in practice most of the vineyards are concentrated in an area around the city of Christchurch. It enjoys a dry, cool climate and is protected from the westerly wet and stronger winds by the Southern Alps. The main grape varieties are Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, although this region is well known for the quality of its Riesling. 

Central Otago: The southern border of the wine world

Central Otago: The third most important wine region after Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay, Central Otago is considered the world’s more southerly wine region. It also has the highest altitude in New Zealand with up to 400 metres on average above sea level. The intensity of sunlight is very high, resulting in high levels of alcohol. Pinot Noir represents the vast majority of the plantings, with more than 70%, followed by Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.