De-stressed out West...

Element - - Staycation -

Al­low your­self 30 min­utes to charge out along the North-western mo­tor­way, sail through Kumeu and Hua­pai then hang a right at Waimauku onto Waik­oukou Val­ley Road and you’ll find your­self curl­ing up the drive­way of the beau­ti­fully re­fur­bished

Matua Val­ley Wines cel­lar door. Over­look­ing sprawl­ing vine­yards and lo­cated in the his­toric 130-year-old cot­tage known as ‘The Hunt­ing Lodge’, Matua is open 360 days of the year from 10am to 5pm. Cel­lar door man­ager and self-de­scribed ‘vin­trepeneur’ Emma Leoon and her team will be on hand to guide you through their smor­gas­bord of wines from across the coun­try. Those want­ing to delve deeper into the wine­mak­ing process could en­rol in a ‘Blend­ing Ses­sion’ where you’ll be able to get hands-on with dif­fer­ent sam­ples and fi­nally blend your own Matua wine. “Our next one is set for Fe­bru­ary 18th” says Leon, “It does how­ever tend to get messy so we’ll pro­vide you with your own Matua apron to take home as well as a bot­tle of your own per­son­ally blended wine”. Cost $55 per per­son.

Phone the cel­lar door on 09 411 5501 to book or visit A mere 20 min­utes from down­town Auck­land how­ever is Kumeu Es­tate, not just a top New Zealand win­ery, but ar­guably an aris­to­crat amongst the world’s chardon­nay pro­duc­ers. Founded by the Bra­jkovich fam­ily back in 1944, at the helm to­day is Melba who runs the busi­ness with her four chil­dren Michael, Mar­i­jana, Mi­lan and Paul along­side wine­maker, Nigel Tib­bits, who has been with the win­ery since 1974. With nine dif­fer­ent wines cur­rently avail­able to taste, there is def­i­nitely some­thing for ev­ery­one who en­ters the cel­lar door. Chardon­nay lovers will be in­ter­ested to learn that Michael Bra­jkovich MW in­tro­duced the ‘Bur­gun­dian’ style of chardon­nay pro­duc­tion to New Zealand back in the 80s through the use of mal­o­lac­tic fer­men­ta­tion (or MLF). MLF is a nat­u­ral process which bi­o­log­i­cally re­duces the acid­ity in wine while adding flavour com­plex­ity and a de­gree of soft­ness or ‘creami­ness’. Kumeu River is open Mon-fri 9am – 5pm and Satur­days from 11am at 550 SH16 Kumeu, ph 09 412 8415. Visit

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