The missionary Samuel Mardsen planted the first vines in 1819. The first colonials were English, who didn't understand much of viniculture. Many of the small vineyards had to give up after only a few years. Only after Italians and Dalmatians immigrated in the 20th century, and brought their experience, did viniculture experience an upswing. The yards spread from the North further South, and the quality began to rise.
The climate on both islands (north and south) is variable. In Auckland in the North there is subtropical climate, while it is rather cool in Central Otego. The regional climate is influenced by the mountains.
There are large yards on the North Island. The best results re found in the regions Auckland, Waikatu, Hawke´s Bay and Gisborne. Main concentration lies on the white wines, that are espceially good from Marlborough. The Müller-Thurgau was the favorite vine up until the 1980's, but now Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown. The wines are held in German style.
New Zealand's wine laws wrote in 1924, that wines can only be made from grapes, and the addition of water was forbidden in 1981.