Dwarfed by the dominant surrounding regions such as Marlborough, Nelson is often overlooked. But when one takes the time to explore both wine and country, Nelson is a delightful find. Acting as a gateway to the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National park, stunning scenery, nature walks and hiking trails are something Nelson has to spare.
The unique topography of the area provides many benefits for vintners, the mountain range that envelopes the area, covering the west, south and east provides fantastic protection from the prevailing westerly winds. The result of which is a climate that is far calmer compared to the neighbouring regions that sit outside of the ranges protection. Although the ranges do cause a far higher rate of rainfall compared to Marlborough. Luckily this is countered by the increased daylight exposure resulting from the regions northern location.
Nelsons two sub-regions are Waimea Plains and the Upper Moutere hill country. The plains and Marlborough are very similar in character, although the plains gravelly silt loams have a higher clay content leading to high water retention and core minerality provoking light aromatic wines. While the gravel threaded clay of the Upper Moutere hill country produces rich, complex wines with fantastic texture.
Nelson has seen a steady increase in plantings over the previous 20 years, although suitable land is becoming scarce, not only driving up the cost of production but also limiting the future growth potential of the region.