Hawke's Bay wine region
First planted by missionaries in the mid-19th century, Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine region, and its second largest. While the rest of the country is planted with white varieties and Pinot Noir, Hawke’s Bay is dominated by Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Relatively warm-climate Chardonnay is the most successful white.
It’s all down to geography. South Island is too cool for red wine, while much of North Island, including the subtropical far north, is too wet. Hawke’s Bay lies on the east coast of the southern half of North Island. It has about 350km of coastline but most of the vineyards cluster around the cities of Napier and Hastings at the south end of the bay. There they benefit from the rain shadow of the Ruahine and Kaweka ranges, making this maritime region one of the very few in New Zealand that is both dry and warm.
Five major river valleys empty into the bay from the mountains, giving the vineyards a great variety of soil types and elevations. These include deep gravel beds similar to those in the Médoc, where Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties thrive. River-gravel vineyards are also found in the Rhône, home of Syrah, and this is the only part of New Zealand suited to that relatively hot climate variety: 85% of the country’s Syrah comes from Hawke’s Bay.
Decanting Club wines from: Hawke's Bay
Te Awa, Left Field, Malbec
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