New Zealand | Canterbury
The Canterbury region in New Zealand's South Island consists of two major wine areas; the plains (including Banks Peninsula) around the city of Christchurch, and the more recently developed valley area of Waipara, an hour's drive north of Christchurch. While grapes were first planted in Akaroa in 1855, and original Lincoln plantings started in the 1960's, the first commercial plantings in Canterbury were planted in late 1970's.
In the southern area the soils are mainly alluvial silt loams over gravel subsoils while in Waipara they are chalky loams that are often rich in limestone. Long, dry summers, abundant sunshine and relatively cool growing conditions are a feature in both areas although Waipara, which is sheltered from the coast by a low range of hills, can be significantly warmer.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the most widely planted grape varieties, together making up nearly 60% of the region's vineyards. Riesling is the third most popular variety with Sauvignon Blanc in fourth place. Canterbury is New Zealand's fourth largest wine region.