Wine Regions of Auckland
Metro Magazine named it one of Auckland’s top twenty garden bars. Peter Saunders, a wine critic, called it a “regional star of Matakana, awards for excellence, this vineyard cannot be passed by.
Planted on a single steep hillside, graciously enveloped with a warm climate, no wonder people marvel at the sight.
Offering a variety of tours around the vines, the sweetness of the grapes beckon you to inhale the aroma, the sun illuminating the glistening fruit.
Step inside the winery, choosing to either sample four or six wines, depending on the tour. Tasting notes of plums, fruitcake and vanilla; or blackcurrant, coffee, mint and cedar in the ‘Benediction’; or ‘Fortitude’, notes of raisins, vanilla, nuts and chocolate.
Savour the delicate aromatic notes of peaches, grapefruit and hazelnut.
Relax inside their Oak Grill Bistro, awarded New Zealand’s beef and lamb “Hallmark of Excellence’ every year since 2004. Dishes prepared over a grill fuelled with French oak barrel shavings, soaked in red wine. Herbs and garnishes picked from the budding garden surrounding the fountain in the courtyard. Vegetable gardens sprinkle an array of colour behind the kitchen, providing fresh heirloom vegetables on a daily basis.
Sit back and enjoy tapa dishes, toasty bread, Italian food, honey mascarpone and frozen tiramisu terrine, matching wines served with the food. The restaurant extending through large open doors to the terrace, with an outdoor fireplace blazing in the winter.
The sight of the villa-type winery sitting in the background of the cascading fountain allows a brief glimpse of this winery’s inclinations.
Artisan Wines – Fantail Island
Although Artisan vineyards are scattered across the country, this small winery setting in the midst of Oratia in Henderson, owned by the Sunde Family, is one for stopping at.
The boutique winery is hidden amidst pastoral lush green valley, vines surrounding the winery, designed to resemble the good old kiwi bach.
Created into a relaxing atmosphere, the open terrace dining setting with outdoor furniture lines the outside of the restaurant.
Sample their Syrah, Chardonnay, Flora, Merlot, Cabernet Franc; while vineyards from other areas provide a variety of other choices sure to delight any wine lover.
On a gathering day, you may discover three generations of the Sunde Family working side by side on the vines.
Savour their award-winning Syrah and Dominic – a blend of Camay Noir and Pinot Noir.
Their Syrah singing out notes of rich black fruits and black pepper; while their Rosé is fresh and light, with light fruity characteristics.
Catch a glimpse of fantails flittering along the ground or on the branches, accompanying the workers collecting grapes, explaining why this little stream at the edge of the vineyard is called Fantail Island.
The owners Ross and Bill Spence started from humble beginnings in a ragged tin shed, releasing Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Burgundy and Gamay Teinturier; starting a new trend for the Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand.
Set on twenty-five hectares of land purchased in the green Waikoukou Valley, the pentagonal winery sits on the crest of a low ridge looking out across the valley. Landscaped gardens, a centre that houses a welcoming environment for visitors to sample the wines, and a group of staff, they certainly have left their mark on the wine industry.
Grapes coming from vineyards in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay provide the fresh crispness from the long hours of sun these regions have.
Taste their Shingle Peak Sauvignon Blanc with tropical and citrus fruits; the Regional Reserve Pinot Noir with wild thyme and cherries; Estate Syrah Viogner with dark cherry red, white pepper and fruity notes. The Matua Valley Pinot Gris bright in appearance, honeyed melon and zesty grapefruit lingers on your palate.
Meander up the tree-lined drive that extends out to the grape vines, looking out across the wine country of Kumeu in Waimauku.
Enter inside the wine cellar to sample their wines, gourmet New Zealand foods and wine-related products.
Matua Valley is designed to please the whole family; small picnic areas include a children’s playground, journeying down to the lower field, shadowed by mature trees. After tasting all that wine and food, perhaps play a game of touch or cricket.
You may like to wander along to the legendry Hunting Lodge, well-known throughout New Zealand as one of our finest restaurants.
Known under a variety of different labels, any wine lover will have plenty to choose from.
Kennedy Point Vineyard
A uniquely organic vineyard, producing award winning wines, olive oil and honey. The Vineyard Guesthouse surrounded by one of the oldest and largest stands of Pohukukawa, the expanse of green vines stretching out before you on the deck.
Established first for their Bordeaux varieties and Syrah, planted on a steep north facing slope.
Sit under the canopy of a 300-year old Pohutukawa tree; dine on platters of oysters, bite into cured meats and cheeses, accompanied by a delicate wine.
Sea views sprinkle the gentle sea breeze, expansive blue ocean seeming to envelope the vineyard.
Sample their olive oils, New Zealand avocado oil and manuka and Pohutukawa honey, the hives set amongst the trees.
Recline on the deck, close your eyes and allow the taste and aromas of the wines to fill your senses.
Explore their tasting room, high above Te Putiki Bay, catching a glimpse of the sea through the looming Pohukukawa trees.
Smell, swirl and sip the Syrah with hints of dark berry and spice; Sauvignon Blanc with sweet tropical fruit, tangy citrus and pineapple. Chardonnay with aromatic notes of white peach and stone fruits; Rosé delighting you with bright cherry and strawberry aromas, or the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc in the Red Trumpet, jazzing up your taste buds.
This vineyard is well-known for a lot of their wines, but perhaps one of the most sought after is the Stonyridge Larose – one of the top Bordeaux-style reds in the world. Blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot; a complex wine that seems to marry the flavours together perfectly. New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key brought six bottles of this wine at a charity auction for $5000.00.
Nestled in an iridescent valley of olive trees, colourful vines and the aroma of France; overlooking the vines, olive grove and lavender fields, benefiting from the many sun shine hours that Waiheke Island can boast.
Voted as one of the Top 10 must visit wineries in the world.
The Fallen Angel label of Sauvignon Blanc rated as of the top three Sauvignon Blanc’s in New Zealand.
Look out across the olive grove consisting of over 120 trees in thirteen varieties. “This is the best olive oil I have ever tasted from the Southern Hemisphere”, raves Jamie Oliver.
Step inside the restaurant; biting into Ciabatta breads with olive oil, bruschetta, seafood, beef, lamb, fresh snapper and a variety of cheeses.
Glance out across to the lush green fields on the wooden terrace. Or hibernate inside by the open fire, the wood crackling, creating a hazy light reflecting on the glass.
Recline back and sip Stonyridge Pilgrim; aromas of blackberry, plum, cassis, liquorice, candied peel and spice fill your nostrils. Lighten up with the Fallen Angel Sauvignon Blanc; notes of passionfruit, lychee, citrus and tropical fruits with some sparkling gooseberry.
Villa Maria Estate
Close your eyes, feel the gentle breeze of the ocean air waft across your face, allowing the wine to trickle down your throat. Once you are ready, open your eyes, looking out to the Ihumato vineyard located on Manakau Harbour. A sheltered 20,000 year old volcanic crater lying barren underneath the vines.
Grapes of Chardonnay and Vendelhor; citrus infused, mingling with mandarin peel, ginger and spice. Hidden amongst the Gewurztraminer; an array of smoked cinnamon, rose petals and Turkish delight notes.
The Auckland estate close to the Auckland airport, retrieving grapes from nearby vineyards; while the Marlborough estate is surrounded by some of the country’s best varieties due to the exceptional climate.
Maxwell vineyard sits on a gentle north-facing slope, bringing to life the Maxwell Sauvignon Blanc with ripe passionfruit, exotic tropical fruit and an edge of lime flavours.
No one could have guessed that George Fistonich, who founded Villa Maria in 1961 on a half hectare land, would have extended out into vineyards and wineries in four regions, producing both nationally and internationally acclaimed wines.
At first glance one couldn’t help but think this is just another industrial vineyard, but the family-owned winery has won more awards than any other in New Zealand.
Sample their wines glistening in the polished glass, while looking out over the manicured lawns and ponds.
Take the half an hour tour throughout the winery, enjoying tastings from a range of wines.
Auckland and the surrounding regions offer a complex array of red and white wines from a variety of regions that bring together the best of what New Zealand has to offer.
Ascension Vineyard, Accessed 06/09/11, www.ascensionvineyard.co.nz
Artisan Wines, Accessed 06/09/11, www.artisanwines.co.nz
Matua Valley, Accessed 06/09/11, www.matua.co.nz
Kennedy Point Vineyard, Accessed 06/08/11, www.kennedypointvineyard.com
Stonyridge Vineyard, Accessed 06/08/11, www.stonyridge.com
Villa Maria Estate, Accessed 06/08/11, www.villamaria.co.nz