Home to some of the most-famous wine regions in the world, New Zealand has been showing its excellence in producing high-quality wines of international reputation. One such wine region blooming at its best in the bouquet of this island country is Hawke's Bay. Read on to know the story behind the name of this second largest wine region of New Zealand and what glorifies it.
Hawke’s Bay has been an abundant source of fine wines to the world since 1851 when its first grapevines were planted by Marist missionaries. The region took its name from the Hawke Bay, located at the east coast of North Island. The bay was named by Captain James Cook to honour Admiral Edward Hawke who decisively defeated the French in 1759’s naval Battle of Quiberon Bay.
Land, Terroir & Varieties
Blessed with three sub-regions and magnificent landscapes, Hawke's Bay has been a dream destination for wine lovers. The region is streaked by five major rivers. The rich soils of Hawke's Bay have shown their suitability to white varieties like Chardonnay (which is also its flagship variety), Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.
Though it’s one of the warmest and driest regions of New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay has more than 4641 hectares of land planted under vines. The dry and temperate climate means long, hot summers and cool winters – offering excellent growing conditions for red wine varieties like Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Varieties like Viognier, Malbec and Tempranillo also display strength in the region and can be seen as its future stand-outs.
The region is popular for producing powerful and elegant full-bodied wines as well as Bordeaux wine styles with longevity and plummy depths (Concentrated wines that echo ripe plum characters).
Hawke's Bay also contains a place holding a Guinness World Record for ‘the longest place name in the world’! It’s Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuaakitanarahu – a hill, usually shortened to Taumata. Try pronouncing this name while you enjoy some great Hawke’s Bay wines. Cheers!