Top NZ wine regions
This young region is still finding its way, but plantings of Syrah and Pinot Noir grapes have been promising, benefitting from the high amount of sunshine the region receives (Nelson gets more average hours of sunshine that anywhere else in the country).
Marlborough and the Wairau Valley
This is the largest wine region in New Zealand and it is totally dominated by Sauvignon Blanc. It is home to the vivid, rich gooseberry style that made New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc famous around the world.
This is really an amalgamation of several smaller regions. There has been success here with Riesling, though there is more of a focus now on Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The Waipara is different from most of the valley regions of New Zealand in that the valleys generally run north-south, as opposed to the more common east-west, and to-the-ocean orientation.
This is the most southerly wine region of New Zealand, or the world for that matter. It is different from most of New Zealand's wine regions bacause it is an inland wine region, with New Zealand's highest vineyards (though only at 600 to 1550 feet above sea level). Central Otago is proving to be Pinot Noir country.