Picture this! A sumptuous lunch with local fish delicacies, cheeses, olives and fresh fruit. All in a very popular, stylish holiday destination, which is famous for sunshine, beaches, forests, wine, seafood and creative arts.

Nelson viticulture is also characterised by style and flair. The wine industry is relatively new here as the traditional horticulture was based on fruit, tobacco and hops. Today the mix is changing and your wine trail will pass olive groves, hop farms, apple orchards and small family-owned vineyards focusing on high quality wines.

The region has around 30 vineyards in scattered pockets over the Waimea Plains and also in the clay gravels and loams of the rolling hills and lush valleys of Upper Moutere. Driving south from Nelson on S.H.6 you can easily access a group of wineries in the Richmond and Brightwater areas. Continuing on to S.H.60 takes you on a convenient loop of the hilly estates via Gardner Valley Road and the Moutere Highway.

Nelson’s 2,500 annual sunshine hours coupled with the rain shadow effect created by the Arthur Range to the west, and the moderating effect of the maritime climate, provides near perfect growing conditions.

The free-draining stony soils on the Waimea plains are very similar to those in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley, so the structure and aromatics of the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling wines are comparable. Nelson winemakers have gained a fine reputation for these varieties, and are now expanding plantings of others such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Shiraz.

The family owned businesses welcome visitors and offer comfortable cafes, wine tastings, cellar door sales, and delicious lunches. Take all day to wander, and sample the classic, handcrafted wines of the Waimea and Moutere Valleys.

Nelson has it all – style, panache and joie de vivre.