New Zealand has a reputation for good wine and probably my favorite thing to do in the summer is drink the stuff at it’s source, in the sun, with good people and a platter to share.
One day last summer I was doing just this with a London based friend who was complaining that to go to a winery, she “has to go to France”.
While the comment only made me jealous at the time, a year later I understand my proximity to wineries wherever I may be in my home country is pretty special.
Most of New Zealand’s wine is produced in ten major wine growing regions which are spread across the county: Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury and Central Otago. Here are (in my opinion) the best New Zealand wineries which are well worth a visit:
Stonyridge Vinyard – Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island can be a mission to get around without a car and designated driver, but Stonyridge is easily accessible from the local bus and has a gorgeous views.
You can choose from a range of cheeses ($18 each or $60 for all) which are served with honeycomb and fresh fruit (which match perfectly with their fallen Angel white wines), as well as breads, crackers and crostinis.
Matwhero Wines – Gisborne
Playing a game of petanque in the sun or walking the vines with a glass of wine in hand while you wait for lunch is pretty ideal.
Their cellar door offers a children’s platter, trio of cheeses or a gourmet antipasto platter for two ($36) or four people ($65) and includes a selection of cheeses, salami, pastrami, smoked salmon, caperberries, olives, gherkins, pesto, sundried tomatoes, feta and hummus which is served with fresh ciabatta bread and crackers.
Church Road has a beautiful building as well as a massive lawn area with picnic tables. In addition to their complimentary tasting (3-4 wines) Church Road offers additional premium wine tasting for $5 or $10 per person.