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While New Zealand wines have captured international awards in recent decades, the Waikato was the first region in the country to start growing wine commercially.

In the late 1800s, farmers began experimenting to find grape varieties best suited to local soils and climate. This led to the first vines planted in New Zealand, at Rongopai, north of Hamilton.

viticulture cambridge-isiteThe first vineyards were established near Te Kauwhata in 1901 and Vilagrad Wines, founded at Ohaupo in 1906, is the oldest surviving winery.

Today, the Waikato is home to a number of successful wineries, all within easy reach of Cambridge, including Hilltop Wines (442 Pencarrow Road, RD 3, Hamilton), Mystery Creek Wines (Mystery Creek Road, Ohaupo), The Garden Country Wines (889 Arapuni Road, Te Awamutu), Vilagrad Wines (702 Rukuhia Road, RD2, Ohaupo) and Lanes End Winery (161 Newells Rd, Hillcrest).

Cambridge also has a company that specialises in sourcing wines from boutique growers for sale to retail customers. The Cambridge Fine Wine Company won a Certificate of Commendation in Best Customer Service (Retail) at the 2011 Waipa District Business Awards.

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