At the top of the South Island the town of Nelson sits on Golden Bay and near the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. This area is essentially a protected cove from prevailing winds off of Antarctica and different as other wine regions in New Zealand are situated on the east side of the country. Golden Bay is thus somewhat of a hidden gem in the New Zealand wine story.
The town of Nelson is known for its Saturday market and Arts & Crafts. Throughout the area one will find small artist workshops sprinkled amongst the wineries. Thanks to a series of glacier movements, this area is home to the oldest rocks found in New Zealand and is well suited for production of high end Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Moutere Hills and Neudorf have enviable locations and are among the early families to settle. Recently Albariño wine has been highly favored in this area. It is a refreshing coastal white known for its stone fruit taste and hint of calcified salinity. This Spanish grape transplant pairs well with local seafood (crayfish, flounder, snapper, etc.)
Nelson is often overlooked by first-time visitors to New Zealand, and it's a shame given all there is to do in the area. Favorite activities include self-guided bike rides throughout the wineries, a day trip into the Abel Tasman National Park, guided tour of artist workshops, shopping and museums in Nelson, and visiting the many restaurants and cafes. The Saturday market in town is a long-standing tradition for many locals in the area and a great place to find delicacies.