Hawkes Bay is home to over 140 vineyards and 75 wineries, and it is New Zealand’s oldest wine region – the first vines were planted by missionaries in the mid 19th century. The region is situated on the east coast of the North Island that includes the hilly coastal land around the northern and central bay, the floodplains of the Wairoa River in the north and the fertile Heretaunga Plains around Hastings in the south. It has a varied topography and wide range of soil types, from fertile silt to free-draining shingle; ranging from the hot shingle soils to the cool, higher altitude central vineyards. It is one of the country’s leading producers of wine; notably red wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah – but also some stunning whites. Chardonnay is the most widely planted white variety. The region is also famed for a hill situated in southern Hawke’s Bay with the longest place name in the world – Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.