When summer hits Canterbury, why not hit the Canterbury vineyards? Just a short drive north from Christchurch City, you will find yourself immersed in the delights of the local viticulture.
The Waipara Valley has a cool, dry climate with high sunshine and a long growing season makes optimal growing for a range of varietals – from elegant reds to aromatic Chardonnays, the Canterbury Plains have your palate covered.
Not only is the area made picturesque with the still snow-capped Southern Alps sinking to meet the lowlands – but many of the vineyards situated on the rolling plains are organic and eco-friendly.
That’s right, nasty-free wine with a conscious. What’s not to like? We’ve selected our favourite eco-friendly establishments to tour this Canterbury this summer.
Named after the limestone slopes of it’s surrounds, the owners of this eco-winery pride themselves on capturing the essence of the terroir in every glass.
Pruned in the winter snow and fermented with wild yeasts, Greystone wines are award-winning and widely recognised.
Pinot Noir thrives in the limestone soil, while Chardonnay and Riesling are grown in the lower grounds as the elements change to clay and gravel – the perfect environment for Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.
This boutique family estate not only produces award winning wines, but offers stunning vistas across the Waipara River, valley and surrounding hills.
Situated in the trail of an ancient glacier, Terrace Edge is known for its natural winemaking practices – using wild yeasts for fermentation.
Here, three organic hillside vineyards flourish on clay and limestone soils. Run by two generations of the same family, Black Estate has a restaurant alongside its tasting room – making it an ideal stopover for lunch, or something longer.
And the hospitality doesn’t stop there – with rooms to rent via Airbnb, wine lovers can really make a trip out of this Waipara Valley hotspot.
Black Estate’s three vineyards (Home, Damsteep and Netherwood) are renowned for the Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay varieties.
Founded on a philosophy of hand-based viticulture, low yields and nature winemaking, Pyramid Valley is its location in a bottle.
Tastings take place by appointment in a 1920s carriage stable, refurbished by the owners into a quaint space with outdoor seating to spread out and enjoy the beautiful surrounds.
Another Waipara Valley accommodation offering is also available at Pyramid Valley (if you can book in quick enough). Named after the vineyard’s owners, Weersings Retreat is a cottage nestled at the rear of their property. Styled in a sleek but cosy design, it is a wonderful place to park up for a night – or more.
Named after a unique bell shape formation on part of the landscape, Bell Hill is another site dedicated to farming organically and biodynamically.
Other exciting finds on the property include caves with ancient Maori carvings – and ample Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Visits to Bell Hill must be arranged prior – but it will be worth making the effort to call ahead for a glimpse into these naturally marvellous vines.
Visiting the Canterbury wineries this summer? Book yourself a Snap to take you there.