Exploring the Martinborough wineries on a private winery tour

Little old Aotearoa New Zealand certainly punches above its weight with its world class wines.

From Sauvignon Blanc to Syrah, Cabernet to Chardonnay, Pinot Gris to Pinot Noir and everything in between, there is a New Zealand wine for everyone!

Living in Wellington or visiting our fabulous capital city means the Pinot Noir ‘capital’ of the North Island, Martinborough, is only a short drive of 90 minutes away.

Yes I say Martinborough is the Pinot Noir ‘capital’ of the North Island with over 50% of grapes grown in Martinborough being Pinot Noir, but Martinborough offers plenty of other wine varietals – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Syrah and Merlot.

So what is the best way to experience these world class wines? On a guided, private Martinborough Winery Tour with Kaewa Tours of course.

What’s involved on your private Martinborough Winery Tour?

After picking you up from your requested pick-up location in Wellington, we work our way up the Hutt Valley to our first stop at the Remutaka mountain range summit, 555 metres above sea level where we view the Remutaka Crossing monument commemorating 60,000 New Zealand troops who made the crossing from the military camp in Featherston to the Port of Wellington between 1915 and 1918.

From the summit it’s about a 30-minute drive down to our first winery of the day for our first tastings followed by lunch and a glass of wine of your choice.

Our 3 wineries visited will be a choice of Grava, Tiwaiwaka Wines, Alexander Vineyard, Poppies Martinborough, Moy Hall, Haythornthwaite Winery, Muirlea Rise, Coney Wines or Colombo Wines. If you would prefer to visit another winery this can be arranged by contacting us in advance of your private winery tour.

At one of the wineries, we also get an opportunity to have an in-depth chat with the Wine maker/Owner.

After tastings at the last winery, we will have some time to explore the quaint village of Martinborough.

We depart for Wellington around 2:30pm getting back to your selected drop off location around 4:00pm.

Some common questions I get asked when on a Kaewa Tours private Winery of Martinborough are:

What makes the Martinborough region so suitable for Pinot Noir?

  • Martinborough has high sunshine hours, low rainfall and cool nights making it the perfect climate for producing outstanding Pinot Noir. 
  • The majority of the vineyards are located on Martinborough Terrace, an ancient bed of alluvial gravel raised up over millions of years. The terrace is excellent for viticulture because it is free draining, resulting in low hydration of the vines. This in turn stresses the vines which results in the vines producing small, concentrated berries. The end result being a very high-quality grape and wine in your glass!

What wineries do you choose to go to and why?

  • We are proud of our ethical procurement policy and have strong views around what companies we support. We will only visit wineries that are small, boutique and family owned. Our ethos is “locals supporting locals”. Put it this way, would you prefer to support a winery owned by an American Billionaire or a Kiwi small business owner? 

What’s your favourite winery in Martinborough?

  • That’s a tough question as there are many superb wineries. My favourites would have to be Alexanders, Moy Hall and Grava.

What’s your favourite type of wine?

  • A heavy Bordeaux style red wine is my favourite style. I also love a heavy, oaked, buttery style Chardonnay which can always be found in our wine cellar.

What wine do you dislike the most?

  • Easy choice – I can’t stand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Friends overseas find this very funny as we all know Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc really did put New Zealand on the global wine map.

Fun fact:

  • Martinborough lies on a roughly similar latitude (41 degrees) as Burgundy in France (47 degrees). The Burgundy region is famous for producing outstanding Pinot Noir. Actually, the Pinot Noir ‘capital’ of the South Island, Central Otago, has a closer latitude to Burgundy at 45 degrees.


Ready for a wine or 2 and a guaranteed fun day out? Come experience true Kiwi hospitality at its finest with Kaewa Tours.

Any questions? Drop us an email at info@kaewatours.co.nz or give us a call +64 21 2800075.

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