De-stressed out West...
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 matua.co.nz 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 kumeuriver.co.nz