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The west side of South Island, New Zealand is wet and rainy and not entirely inviting. On the other side of the Southern Alps however, the weather is beautiful and clear with bright, sunny skies. Its this Eastern side of the island where you'll find all the vineyards, in Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury along the coast, and Central Otago in the mountains.
Begin your tour in Marlborough with their signature Sauvignon Blanc. Turning out fantastic vintages year after year, the Marlborough winemaking region has begun establishing sub-regions to tweak extra quality and refinement from the grapes. There are dozens of estates to visit in Marlborough, with some favorites being Seresin Estate, Allan Scott Wines, and Oyster Bay.
Get ready for some excellent Pinot Nior as you make your way by South Island rental car to Otago. Otago is the world's most southerly wine region and has taken the production of Pinot Noir by storm, becoming the greatest producer in the southern hemisphere. Blessed with a climate of hot summers, cold winters, and long diurnal shifts in daily temperature, along with the best clay soils, the region yields simply beautiful fruits.
Head up to the Northern Coast of South Island in your car hire to take in the lush, green region of Nelson. Between mountains and coastline this scenic region benefits from a privileged climate and geography, making it one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand and perfect for growing grapes. Nelson has built up a reputation over the years for their Chardonnay and Pinot Nior, but some of their best products today are Reisling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc.
You can reserve a rental car from Cristchurch Airport or rent a car from Auckland Airport in New Zealand for your South Island wine tour.