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5 unmissable wine experiences in Wellington

Wellington is a city for wine lovers. Whether you're after a prize-winning pinot noir from Martinborough, a charismatic chardonnay from Marlborough or a natural wine made in the heart of the CBD, Wellington is the place to fill your glass. From high-end experiences, to casual, laid back bars, there's an array of wine experiences to be had in the culinary capital.

Go vineyard hopping in a wine village

Wellington has its very own wine country, just an hour's drive or a picturesque train trip from the bustling central city. The Wairarapa is a charming rural wine area that's renowned for its world-class Pinot Noir and warm hospitality.

Visit the charming Martinborough Wine Village and explore over 20 boutique vineyards that are so close together you can bike the flat country roads or stroll between them - all you need is a map from the town's visitor information centre. The town also has boutique shopping, excellent cafes and restaurants that work their magic with local produce. 

To help you get started, check out this pretty cool way to spend a day winery hopping in Martinborough.

Meet the makers at Poppies

Poppies Martinborough is the ultimate vineyard to wine, dine and soak up the scenery. This Wairarapa winery is famous for its incredible (and very Instagrammable) platters of local meat, cheese, pickles and bread - best enjoyed with a crisp glass of the winery's renowned rosé.

Owned by Poppy and Shayne Hammond, the unpretentious and welcoming winery is the perfect place to taste your way through a range of varieties and find a new favourite vino. If you're lucky, Poppy herself will be in the tasting room to share her infectious passion for wine. 

Wining and dining in Wellington

Noble Rot on Swan Lane is a wine bar that can match it with Wellington's infamous craft beer scene. With a wine list that boasts over 500 wines by the bottle and 100 by the glass, there is always something new and exciting for you to try - perfect for wine beginners and wine aficionado alike. 

Le Samourai is a wine bar featuring local and French wine and French-inspired culinary delights, in a casual and petite space on Tory Street. 

For a dining experience matched to exceptional local wines, head to fine dining faves Hippopotamus Restaurant, or Logan Brown. For refined casual dining with killer wine lists, head to Ortega Fish Shack, WBC, Rita or Shepherd

Try something new

friends with natural wine

Natural and organic wines are popping up on bar and restaurant menus around the city, with some of the city's top restaurants serving wine made using minimal intervention including WBC, Rita, and Ortega Fish Shack

For wild wines made in the heart of the Wellington CBD, head to Garage Project's Taproom in Aro Valley. Wellington's award-winning craft beer darlings make wine using grapes from Wellington's nearby wine regions. Using minimal intervention techniques, these wines exhibit flavours that you would more commonly associate with craft beer or cider. Order a glass of Fun Juice or Devil's Punch Bowl and see what we're talking about. 

Head to 1154 on Cuba Street for handmade fresh pasta and a glass of natural wine - a different producer is poured each week, or sit out on the deck at Golding's Free Dive in Hannahs Laneway with a bowl of cheese-based snacks and a glass of pet nat. 

Wine and food festivals

Toast Martinborough friends

All your Wairarapa wining and dining dreams will come true at Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival, held annually in March to celebrate the beginning of the grape harvest season. Winemakers and chefs prepare food with excellent wine matches in a picturesque riverside setting

Wairarapa is also home to New Zealand’s premier wine, food and music festival, Toast Martinborough, held each November. Set within several stunning Martinborough wineries, this one-day festival showcases the world-class wine from the region, paired with gourmet cuisine by top Wairarapa and Wellington producers, against a backdrop of live music and entertainment.  

Wellington Wine and Food Festival at Waitangi Park is Wellington's own waterfront wine celebration held each summer (February 2019). A selection of Wellington’s top restaurants deliver exquisite dishes matched to local wine, all accompanied by great live music.