North Canterbury comprises four distinct
sub-regions. An easy 45-minute drive north of Christchurch will land you at the doorstep of the Waipara Valley (which include Omihi and the Glasnevin Gravels). Fifteen minutes further inland will take you to Waikari. Picturesque Vineyards also lie on the plains close to Christchurch city and further east on the extinct volcanic that is Banks Peninsula. These regions are home to some of the most exciting wine producers in New Zealand.


Each sub-region is unique with distinct soils - from the clay and various limestones in Waikari and Omihi, to the Glasnevin Gravels of the Waipara Valley floor and the basalt spoil of Banks Peninsula.

The climate is cool, although in the northern part of the region, Waipara and Waikari are protected by the Teviotdale Hills which keep the cool coastal winds out. The Southern Alps ensure low rainfall and plenty of sunshine in summer. The whole region enjoys long dry autumns and varied diurnal rhythms help provide phenolic ripeness and complexity in the wines.

Get to know the sub-regions ↓





This area lies on the Waipara Valley floor close to the Waipara River. Smooth stones and gravels left behind by an ice aged glacier heat up with the warm days.

The soil is highly mineralised, free-draining and of low fertility, resulting in naturally reduced vine vigour. This produces low yields of optimally ripened, high quality, flavourful grapes. The first vineyards were planted here in the early 1980s.





Omihi is in the north of Waipara Valley and has hills of clay and limestone soils about 100 - 200 metres above sea level.

Several different limestones can be found in the top of the hills, with mainly Awapuni clay loam with calcium carbonate deposits in the foot hills. These soils give texture, minerality and concentration. The first hillside vineyard in Omihi was planted in 1986.





Inland from the Waipara Valley lies the Waikari Hills.

While hunting for new terriors in the late 1990s, curious producers headed toward land famous for its outcrops of pure, limestone-derived rendzina soils. These high-density planted vineyards are at higher elevations, 250-300m above sea level, and have soils ranging from pure chalky limestone to lime-rich derived clays and subsurface marine glauconite/greensand.





This sub-region encompasses the plains, including and surrounding Christchurch city, Lincoln University and then Banks Peninsula.

Lincoln University is home to Viticulture and Oenology education and research. Early vine plantings from Lincoln University and nearby have helped to develop New Zealand's viticulture into what it is today. The region has the oldest plantings of Pinot Noir in New Zealand on the plains near Lake Ellesmere, on route to Banks Peninsula. The first gold medal award for Pinot Noir came from St Helena vineyard in Belfast, North Christchurch. The vineyards grow in free draining stony soils on the plains, or in basalt soils of the volcano that is Banks Peninsula.