Sitting in the North Island south of Auckland, Waikato is probably better known for its kiwi fruits and cows than for its wines. It has the least number of wineries and vines in New Zealand, so its vinous exploits are best described as small and slowly expanding. Waikato also incorporates the Bay of Plenty that sits along the coast and tends to be more renown. Growing grapes in the Waikato region is not for the faint hearted. The soils are generally heavy loams over clay subsoils, and the climate is warm by New Zealand standards. However, it experiences high rainfall that can play havoc in the vineyards as mildew runs riot. Despite this, it is interesting that Waikato has one of new Zealand’s oldest vineyards called Te Kauwhata. Now called Rongapai Wines, it produced its first wine in 1903, and still produces grapes today. Because of the small vineyard area and the climate, most grapes for wine production are sourced outside the region from areas such as Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough; therefore, there is no distinct regional wine style. Nevertheless, recently winemakers have banded together to produce wines that express the Waikato region with Bay of Plenty being the best candidate due to its coastal influence.