9 Reasons You Should Visit North Canterbury's Cellar Doors

The North Canterbury wine region offers diverse and intriguing varieties and unexpected delights.

The exterior of the Black Estate building on a sunny day.

Word by: Ashlyn Oswalt

Photos by: Nancy Zhou

From delicate Pinot Noirs to surprising Albariños, the region sits in the picturesque hills around Christchurch, making it the perfect location for long days of sipping wines at these North Canterbury cellar doors.

A close up of a woman holding a large wooden platter with snacks.

Greystone Wines & Muddy Water Wines

376 Omihi Road, Waipara

Greystone Wines in Waipara, has exceptional options when it comes to wine. A certified organic site, they produce Greystone Wines alongside their Muddy Waters label. Without the use of herbicides, pesticides, or other -icides, Greystone is able to maintain a high-quality product.  

Famous for their naturally fermenting Pinot Noir — it ripens right on the vine — the team behind Greystone is truly committed to the environment and the integrity of the wines. If you’re ready to stop by and see for yourself, pull up a chair and stay awhile. Allow yourself the luxury of lingering over a cheese platter and a couple of glasses, or go all out and enjoy the set tasting menu featuring four courses and five paired wines. Licensed forager and head chef Mel Wright, expertly prepares local, seasonal and outrageously delicious meals, showcasing the best in North Canterbury produce.  

A man and woman wearing black and white walking towards the Pegasus Bay building.

Pegasus Bay

263 Stockgrove Road, Glasnevin

The magic of the family-owned and operated Pegasus Bay doesn’t age. Since the 1970s, the Donaldson family has produced a wide variety of whites and reds.

In a picturesque, stately homestead nestled in the Waipara foothills, the location can make you feel a million miles away. Stroll through the gardens and sip on the terrace, or cosy up to the fireplace on the leather couches inside. Peg Bay will be offerings tastings during their peak season and even a locally sourced mini-deli, perfect for creating your own antipasto board from the best Canterbury produce. 

A man pouring wine straight from the barrel at Georges Road Wines.

Georges Road Wines

625 Mount Brown Road, RD2, Waipara

For a truly unique New Zealand wine experience, look no further than the humble Georges Road Wines. Located in the South Bank section of North Canterbury, you’ll find the modern black corrugated iron building surrounded by vines. Inside, the hospitality flows along with the wines.

Head winemaker and owner Kirk Bray is usually pouring the wines himself, filling you in on the details of making a perfect glass of vino. As for the wines, if you enjoy big Syrahs and summer sunshine Rosés, you’ve come to the right place. Relish a craft-your-own antipasto platter along with your wine, savouring, even more, North Canterbury treats. 

Two women standing at a counter inside Terrace Edge Wines.

Terrace Edge Wines

328 Georges Road, RD2, Waipara

After a spontaneous purchase in 1999, the Chapman family went through a real trial and error process with their wines and olives at Terrace Edge. However, we believe they’ve really hit their stride, embracing the different soils that grace the site and having fun with the varieties. The range is wide, from delicious Albariños to unique St Laurents, Terrace Edge isn’t afraid to experiment.

Their cellar door is a stunning example of North Canterbury hospitality, featuring tastings and food pairings in a picturesque location. With views of the vineyard among the hills and an airy, contemporary vibe inside, we can almost guarantee you’ll struggle to leave. 

A view of the Black Estate vines from inside their restaurant.

Black Estate

614 Omihi Road, Waipara

Black Estate is an organic, family-run winery with a cellar door, renowned restaurant, boutique wines and luxurious accommodation.

Their three vineyard sites are farmed using organic and biodynamic processes, allowing the natural production to truly celebrate the fruit at hand. Named one of the world’s top 100 wineries, it’s no surprise when you walk through their cellar door. The local menu is prepared by the chefs, celebrating the seasons and bounty of Canterbury. The black, understated interior allows your eyes to focus on the view of the winery and hills beyond.

Well known for their Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, wine lovers can find a favourite easily. You won’t want to miss the Rosé, either — most vintages sell out before the season is over, so try to go early if that’s what you’re after. Come for a tasting and stay for a long lunch, you won’t be sorry.

A group of people walking on grass alongside the Boneline vineyards on a sunny day.

The Boneline

376 Ram Paddock Road, Broomfield

The Boneline is a gorgeous vineyard located on Georges Road, next to Terrace Edge and Georges Road Wines, making up the highly-sought-after South Bank area.

The cellar door feels like walking into another world, with its stunning winery and gorgeous covered outdoor seating overlooking the vineyard. The Boneline takes its name from the nearby K-T Boundary line, a boundary of geological significance separating the age of reptiles and mammals. Fossils have been found along the Boneline’s rich winery, immortalised through the wine names and labels. The vineyard offers a seated tasting, allowing patrons to sample the wide range of handpicked wines, all with poetically written labels that will take your tastebuds and brain on a journey.

The wines are as beautiful as the setting, and we suggest you walk away with a couple of bottles to cellar. Whether you need to walk off the wines or not, enjoy the vineyard walkway, a 45-minute amble through the vines, with 22 informative stop points along the way. 

Outdoor tables and chairs sitting on grass at Waipara Springs on a sunny day.

Waipara Springs

409 Omihi Road, Waipara

The family-owned Waipara Springs Winery, just off State Highway 1, offers a relaxed café and restaurant experience alongside the cellar door. Try your hand at tasting five of their premium wines, from punchy Sauvignon Blancs to strong Pinot Noirs, and relax in the garden.

Interestingly, Waipara Springs is one of the oldest vineyards in New Zealand, as the first vines were planted in 1982. If you’re after more than just wine, we can also recommend their newly released Premium Dry Gin, Aroha by Waipara Springs.

A man and woman toasting wine inside Straight 8 Estate.

Straight 8 Estate

2321 Main South Road, Burnham

In an unassuming location off State Highway 1 in Burnham sits Straight 8 Estate, home of the casual cellar experience and Georgie the dog.

Producing easy-drinking Rosés, Rieslings, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in their red corrugated iron building, you won’t be disappointed when you make a stop here. Owned and run by James Shand and Mary Jamieson, they provide a relaxing — and entertaining! — atmosphere with complimentary tastings. The wine prices will entice you to leave with more than one bottle, too, making this unique stop worth your while. 

The entrance to the Tussock Hill cellar door.

Tussock Hill

210 Huntsbury Avenue, Cashmere

A new player on the block, Tussock Hill is in the midst of opening their cellar door.

The Targett family has owned and operated the winery for the last four and a half years, producing organic wines from their home block and Waipara vineyard. The cellar door is slated to offer inviting, airy, Scandinavian vibes, with a major focus on strong hospitality.

Located in the Port Hills, the cellar door offers the best of both worlds — plenty of birdsong and views of the Southern Alps while you sip organic wine and enjoy local, seasonal, ethical and organic platters and flatbreads. The family wants to create a peaceful atmosphere where guests feel at home, celebrating the true farm to table (or vine to table!) approach to wine and food. From elegant Pinot Noirs to sweet Rieslings, any wine lover will find something to sip here. 

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