Marlborough, on the South Island, is the most important wine growing region in New Zealand, accounting for over half (54%) of all production. The area is dominated by the valley of the Wairau river valley, and the climate is very cool but sunny. The river deposited deep gravel beds, which provide an ideal soil structure for the production of fine wine. Grapes also benefit from a long hang time due to dry autumns. Nelson, Cantebury and Otago
The Nelson region west of Marlborough has more clay-based soils that lack the drainage of the best Marlborough sites, although the area can be fairly successful. East of the mountains along the island’s northern spine lies the Cantebury region, which is fairly fertile. At the southern tip of the South Island is Otago, a region that has gained a fantastic reputation for its Pinot Noir production.
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