Located on the east coast of the North Island at 39-40 degrees latitude south, Hawkes Bay enjoys a superior reputation for fine wines from the intermediate and cooler climate grape varieties.

Climatically speaking Hawkes Bay is diverse, spanning the cool to very warm spectrum, thanks to the proximity of the Pacific Ocean and influence of local topography. Typically (although there are exceptions) the main growing areas are:

  • the coastal fringe which is moderated by cooling sea breezes
  • inland areas on the expansive Heretaunga Plains which enjoy warm dry Fohn winds from the westerly Ruahine, Kaweka and Tararua ranges
  • the western and southern hill-country skirting the region which enjoy generally cooler and dry weather

Therefore careful matching of vineyard sites to grape varieties gives Hawkes Bay the ability rarely seen in other regions to successfully grow a wide array of grape varieties. The majority of grape vines however are found on the lower Heretaunga Plains of Hawkes Bay, which is broadly classified into the following districts:

  • Coastal - Bayview, Meeanee and Cape Kidnappers
  • Inland - Taradale, Gimblett Gravels, Triangle, and Havelock.

Other areas found in the hills and valleys include Eskdale, Dartmoor Valley, Tukituki, Southern Foothills and Central Hawkes Bay.

 Mills Reef's selected vineyards are located exclusively in Hawkes Bay, in the following locations:

  • the stony soils of the warm inland Gimblett Gravels District for fine Bordeaux-varietal reds, Syrah and flinty ripely structured Chardonnay
  • the alluvial soils of the Mangatahi (southern) foothills, having a larger diurnal variation, which yields fresh lively Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay
  • the Triangle District on the southern edge of the Heretaunga Plain where red metals overlain with heavier silty soils and accompanied with a cooler climate yield parcels of Chardonnay exhibiting freshness and textural generosity.

As a consequence of Mills Reef’s vineyard strategy to carefully match grape varieties with ideally suited soils and climate, it’s full-bodied red wines from the renowned Gimblett Gravels District have garnered a long and fine award winning reputation - trophies, gold medals and five star awards, while the judiciously crafted cross-district blends of Chardonnay have long been enjoyed as some of NZ’s favourite personality-packed and flavoursome white wines.


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