Ever since a certain hobbit was captured on the big screen, tourism in

New Zealand

has been steadily on the rise. So, too, has the world’s consumption of its wines, where 98% of the vineyards are certified sustainable. It makes sense, then, to discover that the country’s eno- and eco-tourism offerings are also numerous. Many of New Zealand’s most extolled wineries are farmed not just sustainably, but organically and/or biodynamically as well. And many other local businesses and purveyors take an equally holistic, eco-conscious approach. Just don’t expect them to shout about it. Like the Kiwis themselves, winery visits are often humble, usually entailing a stroll through the vineyards with the winemaker. Because of this, New Zealand still offers visitors an authenticity that’s rare and refreshing in modern global travel. Here’s your green guide to three of the country’s best wine destinations.

Central Otago/Wanaka

Under an hour from Queenstown, Central Otago is home to some of the world’s best

Pinot Noirs

as well as a dramatic landscape of snow-capped mountains, arid hills and river gorges. Once you’ve gotten a bungee jump or two out of the way (after all, this is the home of the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, the world’s first permanent commercial bungee-jumping site), make an appointment to visit

Felton Road

, one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed and eco-friendly wineries. It boasts lightweight bottles and more than 15 years in biodynamic farming. A 10-minute drive north is

Quartz Reef Wines

. Rudi Bauer, the founder and chief winemaker, believes the complexity and longevity of his world-class Pinot Noirs and


method sparklers has much to do with his biodynamic farming methods. Later, sneak a peak at the hulking Highland cows that graze beside

Burn Cottage Vineyard’s

beautiful, biodynamically farmed vineyards, open by appointment only. Forty minutes north of Burn Cottage, at the edge of Lake Wanaka, you’ll find

Rippon Winery

, which has been farmed by the Mills family for five generations and operated as a winery for the last three of them. It was one of the first wine estates in the South Island to implement biodynamic farming techniques, and it’s blessed with some of the most spectacular views in the wine world. Thankfully, the family shares its stunning property and soulful wines with the world. The winery offers special events throughout the year and is open to visitors (call ahead to confirm availability). Time it right, and you can snag a seat at a pop-up dinner at The Rippon Hall or catch an outdoor concert.

Where to Stay

When it comes to eco-accommodations, you’re spoiled for choice. Base yourself in Queenstown at

Sherwood Queenstown

, nestle down for the night at

Oasis Yurt Lodge

or unleash your inner yogi at the stunning wellness retreat

Aro Hā


More to Explore

Bike the

Otago Central Rail Trail

, take in Laka Wanaka’s gorgeous landscape or plant a tree on one of its islands alongside a local guide with

Eco Wanaka Adventures

. If you feel especially daring, soar through the treetops with Queenstown zipline company

Ziptrek Ecotours


North Canterbury

There’s a sleepy charm about this windswept winegrowing region in the lowlands of the Southern Alps, just 35 miles north of Christchurch. But don’t let its relatively subdued character fool you—North Canterbury is one of New Zealand’s most exciting wine regions. And it’s infused with a small but growing number of eco-minded winemakers that craft wonderful cool climate wines. Take a tour of the organically farmed

Greystone Wines

and learn about the fascinating experiments that ferment in its vineyard. Just down the road, 

Black Estate Wines

is not to miss. It makes top-notch wines from organically or biodynamically farmed grapes as naturally as possible, like a

Chenin Blanc


Cabernet Franc

. It also boasts an award-winning restaurant and events like “Waipara Valley Truffle Day Out,” forage walks, yoga and ceramics classes. Although there are only two wineries in the Waikari subregion, located 15 miles west of Black Estate, their wines are among the country’s best. Just keep in mind that visits to both wineries are by appointment only. Tucked into limestone hills beneath the Alps,

Bell Hill Vineyard’

s premium organic and biodynamic wines give


a run for its money. Nearby, in a sweeping natural amphitheater,

Pyramid Valley Vineyards

has been farmed meticulously and biodynamically by American expats Mike and Claudia Weersing. The winery recently changed hands and will expand, but the hope is that its wines will remain as complex and ethereal as ever.

Where to Stay

Stargaze over the Waipara Valley in a glass eco-cabin at

Greystone Purepod

, or stay at the

Black Estate Winery B&B

that overlooks the vineyards. In Christchurch,

Eco Villa

is essentially a high-class commune. It offers private and shared kitchens and dining areas, an edible garden and plenty of up-cycled, sustainably focused goodness.

More to Explore

Hike or bike one of the

Hurunui Trails

, which includes the

Waipara Valley Vineyard Trail

, or soak in a thermal pool at the family-friendly

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa

, 50 miles from the wineries. End the day with a meal at

Pegasus Bay Winery and Restaurant

, one of the country’s top dining spots. Savor a 30-year-old house


alongside homegrown and local fare on furniture made from recycled native evergreens.



may be New Zealand’s most famous wine region, but with that fame comes a reputation for big brands and intensive farming. Nevertheless, a focus on gentler winemaking techniques and organic/biodynamic farming is on the rise, particularly among small-scale producers.

Te Whare Ra Vineyard & Winery

owners Anna and Jason Flowerday possess some of the oldest vines in Marlborough, farmed organically and biodynamically for the last 15 years. Visitors are often greeted by the Flowerdays themselves, along with one of their two sets of twin daughters or many friendly pups. For a taste of


, head to the French-owned

Clos Henri Vineyard

. From the hopelessly romantic chapel that presides over the biodynamically farmed vines to its Loire-born chief winemaker and general manager, Damien Yvon, you might think you landed in Northwest


. The winery is known for events like

Nuits Romantiques

, an outdoor French film screening, and a

Bastille Day

celebration. Clos Henri also happens to make some of the most ageworthy, site-reflective wines in the region. A stone’s throw from both wineries is the Swiss-owned

Fromm Winery

. Winemaker Hatsch Kalberer crafts top-notch Pinot Noir, as well as plenty of other offerings from organically farmed grapes.

Framingham Wines


Huia Vineyards


Seresin Estate


Churton Wines

are other organic or biodynamic wineries worth a visit, but call ahead to confirm availability.

Where to Stay

Spend the night in

Andahlane Cottage

, a mud-brick retreat nestled in organic vineyards. At the excellent organic winery and restaurant,

Hans Herzog Estate,

have breakfast brought to your vineyard cottage—it may be delivered by the winemaker himself.

Driftwood Retreat & Eco-Tours

offers guided regional treks and accommodations that include a treehouse and a cottage near native wetlands.

More to Explore

Walk or bike the

Wither Hills Farm Park

or head 20 miles or so north to explore the

Marlborough Sounds

. Swim with dolphins, watch a whale migration or spot rare seabirds with

E-Ko Tours