Waipara Valley in North Canterbury is just 40 minutes north of Christchurch and is fast establishing itself as one of the premium wine producing regions of New Zealand, particularly in Pinot Noir and Riesling. According to Bob Campbell, the region is “one of the unsung heroes of the wine industry”.
- 1250 hectares of vines, with Pinot Noir and the aromatics being the most expressive varieties
- 31 wineries in the valley, lots of labels, 12 with cellar doors including 4 winery restaurants
- First vines planted in the early 1980s
The Waipara Valley is snuggled in the lee of the Teviotdale hills that provide protection from cool easterly winds but open to warming north west winds. The protective Southern Alps ensure low rainfall, abundant sunshine and often very warm summers, helped by the famed hot, dry nor’wester winds, though cooling sea breezes and the occasional cold southerly fronts temper this. Drought risk is mitigated by irrigation. Canterbury’s long dry autumns coupled to good diurnal variance help provide phenolic ripeness, complexity and a variety of styles.
Annual Average Rainfall: 648mm
The valley has three general sites, valley floor, hill slopes or river terraces. The soil types include; gravely deposits on flats and terraces in the central and west of the valley, limestone derived clays on hillsides and valley floor to the eastern side and gravely loams over alluvial subsoil in the southern part of the region. The north facing moderately sloping terrain provides an ideal sun trap for fruiting vines.