We love Pinot Noir for a variety of reasons: its elegance and finesse that stand out amidst the bold, rich red wines; its versatility of styles and food pairing abilities; and its potential to craft the world’s finest, most complex wines despite being high maintenance in the vineyards and in the cellar.

In the world of Pinot Noir, Burgundy is its spiritual home without doubt. But it's gaining popularity all over the world. Pinot Noir has journeyed to the Southern Hemisphere, becoming the signature grape for some of the most interesting wine regions thousands of miles away from Burgundy.

Australian Pinot Noir

When we think of Australian red wine, the fruit-forward, opulent Barossa Shiraz often comes to mind. However, the lighter, elegant Pinot Noir offers a breath of fresh air in Australia's sea of bold and rich reds. Australian Pinot Noir has evolved significantly since its humble beginnings in the 1970s. Today, it thrives in some of the country's coolest corners, where winemakers have honed their craft to produce wines of subtlety, elegance, and finesse.

Adelaide Hills

Adelaide Hills, a picturesque region with a German heritage, is the country’s leading producer of Pinot Noir. Its climate features cool winters and winter-dominant rainfall, perfect for Pinot Noir growing. The highly variable soils contribute to the complexity of the wines. Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir is known for its light to medium-bodied nature, with strawberry, cherry, and red berry notes dancing on the palate. What sets it apart is its vibrant acidity and elegant structure, making it a perfect companion for a wide range of dishes.

Yarra Valley

Just an hour's drive from Melbourne's CBD lies the Yarra Valley, a popular tourist destination known for its wine tourism and iconic scenery. Here, Pinot Noir thrives in a cool climate characterized by rainfall dominant in winter and spring. The soils vary from gray-brown to red volcanic, adding layers of complexity to the wines. The region is known to be a hub for pioneering winemakers, pushing the boundaries of wine quality. Yarra Valley Pinot Noir is renowned for its finesse and refinement, with bright red fruit flavors and a distinct minerality.

The beautiful scenery at Yering Station Winery at Yarra Valley (Credit: Visitvictoria)

Mornington Peninsula

Surrounded by Bass Strait, Port Phillip Bay, and Western Port Bay, the Mornington Peninsula is a true maritime wine region. Its diverse climate, ancient soils, and elevations create a complex network of microsites ideal for growing Pinot Noir. Here, the grape thrives under the care of passionate growers, resulting in world-class wines defined by elegance and refinement. Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir is characterized by its silky texture, succulent red fruit flavors, and a hint of spiciness. It's a wine that reflects the region's coastal charm.


Just south of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania boasts a temperate maritime climate ideal for producing elegant and aromatic wines. In recent decades, Tasmania has become a premium region for sparkling wine, as well as cool climate grape varieties. The vineyard soils feature ancient sandstones, mudstones, and river sediments, adding to the complexity of the wines. Tasmanian Pinot Noir is characterized by its intensity and finesse, with red fruit flavors and a hint of earthiness.

New Zealand Pinot Noir

Unlike its neighbor Australia, Pinot Noir is the representative of red wine in New Zealand. Despite its small size, New Zealand plays an important role in Pinot Noir wines, with premium regions like Central Otago, Marlborough, and Martinborough. Climate plays a major role in defining regional styles.


Famed for its Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough is also home to some exceptional Pinot Noir. The region's cooler climate and strong winds contribute to its unique character. Marlborough Pinot Noir tends to be lighter and fruitier, with red fruit aromas and refreshing acidity. With finesse and drinkability, Marlborough Pinot Noir is an all-purpose, crowd-pleaser, perfect for any occasion.

Marlborough Pinot Noir is known for its refreshing acidity and vibrant fruitiness (Photo: Paras Kapoor, Unsplash)


Situated in the southern point of the North Island, Martinborough enjoys a mild coastal climate with abundant sunshine and rare rainfalls. Martinborough Pinot Noir is known for its darker fruit aromas, fuller body, and bigger structure supported by fine tannins. If Willamette Valley in Oregon is the American equivalent to Burgundy, Martinborough’s Pinot is the one most resembling Burgundy in the Southern Hemisphere.

Central Otago

Located in the world's previous record holder for the southernmost wine region, Central Otago is renowned for its intense, aromatic Pinot Noir. Central Otago stands out among New Zealand’s wine regions because of its continental climate, with significant seasonal and daily temperature fluctuations. The temperature variations shorten the growing period and present a prolonged risk of frost throughout the year. Despite its challenging climate, Central Otago Pinot Noir features intense fruit character and a silky texture. It's a wine that epitomizes the region's rugged beauty.

Other Regions

While Central Otago, Marlborough, and Martinborough may steal the spotlight, other regions in New Zealand are also producing exceptional Pinot Noir. From the spicy, cherry-flavored wines of Hawke's Bay to the fragrant, earthy offerings of Nelson, these wines showcase the diversity and innovation of New Zealand winemaking.

Whether you're exploring the cool-climate regions of Australia or the stunning landscapes of New Zealand, one thing is clear: Pinot Noir is a grape that thrives in diverse terroirs, producing wines of exceptional quality and character. Join us on this journey and explore the remarkable Pinot Noirs from both Australia and New Zealand, each offering a unique expression of this captivating grape. Cheers to the beauty and complexity of Pinot Noir! In the next article, we will continue our exploration in the southern hemisphere, taking you to Chile and Argentina.








Sylvia Ba

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