Located on the country’s most easterly tip and one of the closest points of land to the international dateline, Gisborne boasts the world’s most easterly vineyards and the first vines to see the sun each day. The region receives high sunshine hours and a warm temperate climate on coastal plains that are sheltered from the west by a range of mountains. The dominant soil type is loam (silt and clay) or volcanic subsoil. Vineyards are predominantly sited on flats, although there are small parcels on slopes on the northern edge of the plains and on some elevated sites to the west. Gisborne is predominantly a Chardonnay producing region, with around half of the area planted to Chardonnay. However, it has also established an excellent reputation for Gewurztraminer going back to the 1970s, when Matawhero was making New Zealand's first Gewurztraminer. Today, Viognier, Pinot Gris and Chenin Blanc wines are popular additions, along with sparkling wines. Reds are also becoming popular, with excellent Merlots, Malbec, Pinotage and even the occasional Syrah now being produced.