Hawke's Bay Has Just Been Named the 12th Great Wine Capital of the World

If you've always thought that the New Zealand region produces top drops, you're right — and now if has an official tick of approval.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 23, 2023

Think exceptional wine regions and Bordeaux, the Napa Valley and Bilbao likely come to mind. Lausanne in Switzerland, Portugal's Porto, Mendoza in Argentina and Adelaide across the ditch in South Australia might as well. So should New Zealand's own Hawke's Bay, with the Aotearoa locale just earning a massive vino honour: being named the 12th Great Wine Capital of the world.

The global program celebrates spots responsible for top-notch drops, and it's a prestigious list. All of the above places have received Great Wine Capital status already, and so have Cape Town's Cape Winelands in South Africa, Mainz and the Rheinhessen wine region in Germany, Valparaíso Casablanca Valley in Chile and fair Verona in Italy. Joining the ranks isn't easy, involving a tough selection process that examines the region's winegrowing industry and vino tourism alongside its history, educational opportunities and more.

Hawke's Bay has been recognised for its 200-plus vineyards, 125 wine producers and more than 30 cellar doors — and growing more than 40,000 tonnes of grapes in 2022 alone. The North Island region's variety of tourism experiences also boosted its fortunes, as well as its popularity with both NZ and international travellers. Visitors to the area can enjoy everything from bike tours between cellar doors and long vineyard lunches to picnics and picking parties, plus ample opportunities to pair a glass or bottle with something to eat.

The worldwide kudos comes as Hawke's Bay continues to recover from Cyclone Gabrielle in February 2023, offering a much-needed piece of good news in a tough year.

"Cyclone Gabrielle may have dealt us a blow, but this recognition shows that Hawke's Bay is still the top-quality wine destination it always was," said Hawke's Bay Tourism CEO Hamish Saxton, announcing the Great Wine Capital status.

"Hawke's Bay's inclusion as one of just 12 Great Wine Capitals of the world is of regional and national significance. It is recognition that Hawke's Bay wines are among the world's best, and that our nation's wine growing industry, while still young, offers quality to rival the world's oldest," he continued.

"We have long known that Hawke's Bay, as New Zealand's Food and Wine Country, stood out for its winemaking. This new achievement gives Hawke's Bay a unique positioning in New Zealand and the world. The climate, unique soils and the innovation of so many talented individuals, have come together to deliver an accolade the region wholeheartedly deserves. It is a true legacy for the region and will continue to deliver benefits to industry, education, business and tourism for the years to come."

The Great Wine Capitals Global Network dates back to 1999, was unsurprisingly started in Bordeaux to showcase and support the very best wine-producing regions, including helping foster collaborations between them.

Now that Hawke's Bay has gotten the nod — after first trying back in 2009 — it's Aotearoa's one and only inclusion, because each country can only grace the list with a single location.

Find out more about the Great Wine Capitals of world over at the program's website.


Feeling inspired to book a getaway? You can now book your next dream holiday through Concrete Playground Trips with deals on flights, stays and experiences at destinations all around the world.

Published on May 23, 2023 by Sarah Ward
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x