Understandably dwarfed just a little by its much larger rowdier neighbour to the East of the South Island, Marlborough, Nelson is smaller, more boutique and certainly more relaxed. Nelson is known for its laid back artsy cafe culture, it's certainly one that rubs off on the wineries in the area.
Nelson enjoys its own mesoclimate, cut off from the rest of the South Island, facing the Tasman Bay, and surrounded on the other three sides by mountains. It is dubbed as ‘the sunniest town in New Zealand’. The area is known for its hot days and cold nights, which slow down ripening and help moderate acidity, well suited to aromatic grape varieties like Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.
Nelson has two sub-regions; Moutere Hills and Waimea Plains. Moutere Hills lies to the West of the city, it was the first area planted with grapevines in New Zealand in the 1800s, with deep gravel and clay soils. ‘Waimea’ means ‘river garden’ in Maori; this references the stony alluvial soils, and it sounds like a lovely place to get wine from!