On the bucket list of things you MUST DO in New Zealand, is of course wine tasting in Hawkes Bay! About five hours South of Auckland, this trip can be done in a weekend if you’re short on time. This is all you need to know about wine tasting in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
Wine Tasting in Hawkes Bay
I did some research beforehand and knew which wineries I most wanted to visit. Being from Sonoma County, California, and having worked in the wine industry for 3+ years, I knew what I was looking for in terms of a winery. I wanted to visit a few stunning properties, and a couple tiny, family-run wineries. We found the perfect mix of both.
Wine Tasting in Hawkes Bay : Black Barn Vineyards
The first winery we stopped at was Black Barn Vineyards. I was attracted to the gorgeous architecture, many award-winning wines, and I was also loving that they served food. We stopped in and had a quick tasting, where we were served by a knowledgeable staff member who even hand-picked us a fig from their tree outside to pair with the Sauvignon Blanc.
After our tasting, we felt like we needed to see more of the property. It was just so beautiful! We skipped through the restaurant to the outside patio, where we ordered rose and fries and soaked up the sun surrounded by vineyards. If it wasn’t such a warm day, I would’ve been all over the beanbag chairs – how cute are they??
Wine Tasting in Hawkes Bay : Te Mata Estate
After a good chill session and a lot of tramping through vineyards, we chose our next destination – Te Mata Estate. This one was chosen primarily on recommendation and location. It’s the oldest winery in New Zealand, and it’s right across the street from Black Barn! We headed over.
After driving over their super-cute bridge, we were surprised to find a little office-looking building to be the tasting room. It wasn’t busy (we were only the second car in the parking lot!) so we headed in. The tastings were marked at $7.50 each, waived with a purchase. We had a quick tasting and bought a bottle of Merlot/Cab blend, which was our favorite.
Wine Tasting in Hawkes Bay : Akarangi Wines
We decided to head somewhere next that we could get some good, personalized service. Somewhere small and family owned. We came across Akarangi Winery on Google and drove down the street to the tasting room. Wine tasting in Hawkes Bay has been on my bucket list for a long time, and I was so excited to find a winery where we could sit down and have a one-on-one conversation with a winemaker!
Akarangi Winery is a tiny little tasting room in an old church. When we pulled up, no one was in, so we just gave a shout out. The old man that emerged was the owner of the winery, and has been making wines for years and years. We had a long conversation with him over the course of our tasting, where he taught us about the wines he was producing. It was exactly what we were looking for, and ended up being our favorite winery of the day.
The wines at Akarangi were our favorite. The vibe of the winery is so relaxed and calm, exactly what a winery should be. No pretentious vibes here!
Wine Tasting in Hawkes Bay : Craggy Range Winery
For our last stop, we chose Craggy Range Winery. A gorgeous property and tasting room, Craggy Range is filled to the brim with delicious wines. We tried a variety, my favorite being their Pinot Gris (I’m a sucker for a crisp white!).
We had a great tasting at Craggy Range, as the wines were fantastic. The staff was pretty busy, but we entertained ourselves by trying to pick out the flavours in each wine.
By the end of the day, we were happy, content little tourists, ready for a big italian feast in Napier and a cozy bed in rural Hawkes Bay. We’d had a successful day and couldn’t have asked for more!
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