For a long time, Hawkes Bay, on the relatively sheltered eastern shore of the North Island, was the stellar region for New Zealand wines - for a good reason. This changed with the meteoric rise of Marlborough, but Hawkes Bay has never allowed its standards to slip.
Its general excellence was boosted in the late 20th century by the discovery of the Gimblett Gravels, an area where the stony soils have brought out the best from a wide range of grapes.Read More
Hawkes Bay built a reputation on the back of its red wines, and with a climate bearing similarities to Bordeaux it is unsurprising that Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have been so successfully grown and blended. More recently, Syrah and Pinot Noir have produced pleasing results.
Everything, except for the occasional spring frost, is ideal for the growing of grapes. There is plenty of summer sunshine, little in the way of autumnal rain and the soil allows good drainage and makes the vines work for their fruit (which leads to an intensity of flavour). The Gimblett Gravels, of which the Gimblett Road is the ultimate area, provide a soil full of stones brought down by the Ngaruroro River and which helpfully reflect the heat of the sun back onto the grapes.