Going to a vineyard for a spot of wine tasting is a most enjoyable idea for a day trip out with friends, family or work colleagues. It’s also great for a team bonding event or group function. There are plenty of vineyards to visit around New Zealand and here are a few selected favourites…..
Winning many awards for their 2007/2008 collection, West Brook Vineyard in Waimauku offers free wine tastings to small groups of 8 or less. After that it’s just $5 per person. The vineyard contains a park-like setting so you can take along your own picnic or meat for the bbq or purchase ready made cheese and cracker platters. Enjoy a day out with all of the family. There’s even a Petanque Court and Giant Chess board to entertain you.
I admit that I’m in love with Matakana and adore everything about it. A trip to the Ascension Winery is, in my opinion, simply fantastic. It’s a chance to taste locally produced wine and enjoy an outstanding meal while you’re there. I also recommend a sober driver joins you.
Wine tasting is one of my favourite things to do occasionally, and I cannot recommend Soljans Estate enough. The wine cellar has daily wine tastings with a variety of ever-changing popular favourites. I love the Soljan’s port and their sparkling wine is ever so sweet and delicious. The café / restaurant is particularly great for a spot of lunch before or after too.
Located nearby to the airport, Award Winning Villa Maria in Mangere is popular for weddings and the occasional music festival event, but it’s also lovely for a drive to sip and savour. The Cellar door is fantastic for tastings, and take in the view as you enjoy a delicious meal from their café /restaurant.
I have visited several vineyards dotted across Waiheke on many an occasion, and although it’s a difficult decision to make, I would have to say that one of my absolute favourites would have to be Casita Miro in Onetangi. Walking down their driveway admiring the picturesque landscape, I felt as though I was in the midst of French Provence or Tuscan Italy. Indoors sit at the bar while you enjoy a few of their samples, then enjoy a meal overlooking gorgeous sea views. Reservations recommended.
Need to celebrate a special occasion? Why not take a drive to Hamilton. The Mystery Creek cellar door is open for tastings by appointment, allowing you to sample their range of award winning wines on offer. The restaurant is located within a gorgeous converted wooden homestead and offers dinner Wednesday to Sunday and lunch on the weekend. Great open fire too.
Kirkpatrick Estate Winery or known as KEW, is one of a selected few vineyard and winery site combinations in the Gisborne area. Wine tastings and food platters are available for purchase in the weekends during winter and seven days throughout the summer months. You can also take advantage of onsite tours of the vineyard and winery.
Napier / Hastings
Popular for weddings and corporate functions, one of New Zealand’s oldest wine makers, Mission Estate in Napier is just beautiful. With amazing breathtaking views, their restaurant is the perfect location for enjoying the Hawke’s Bay sun and a glass or two of their award winning wine.
This vineyard is just gorgeous. The cellar door is open for group tastings by appointment only, so be sure to phone ahead and book to fully appreciate the sampling of top quality multi award winning wine.
A trip to the Marlborough district wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Brancott – (formally Montana Wines) Visitor Centre. There are three different tour options on offer – allowing you to completely soak up all the glory of the winery in action. You can sample the full range of Brancott wines at the cellar door and enjoy a delicious meal in the onsite Restaurant.
Grab a dose of Southern hospitality at Northburn Station – a sheep station, vineyard and wine producer in one! Stunning views of surrounding Central Otago sit right before your eyes, and the meals in their restaurant are supreme. The cellar door also sells the occasional white bait and meat cuts from the farm. Fantastic.
Another brilliant Otago Vineyard, the popular Mt Difficulty Cellar Door and Restaurant offers wine tastings daily with lunch from 12noon. An intimate yet relaxed feeling evokes with a full range of wines to taste, plus of course recommended suggestions to accompany your meal.
Editorial by Katherine Robinson
Updated 9 January 2012