Make it a mission to visit one or two of New Zealand’s fabulous vineyards this summer – and why not stop for lunch?
Imight be biased, but visiting a winery is surely a great way to spend some time this summer. After all, what better way to learn about New Zealand’s world-class wines, take in a breath of fresh vineyard air and have a bit of fun along the way? You can discover the birthplace of your favourite wine, admire some excellent architecture, and typically you can also expect to eat delicious food and meet friendly people.
Our beautiful wine regions boast a wide array of cellar doors ranging in size and sophistication, with occasional bonuses such as art galleries, farmers markets, cheeseries or accommodation. Some of the nation’s best chefs are found in winery restaurants, providing everything from casual brunches through to sumptuous 10-course degustation dining.
Winery people love sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge. Often there are “cellar door only” wines open for tasting – these may be unusual varieties, special projects being trialled by winemakers, or just wines made in tiny volumes. Many wineries will also offer tastes of sought-after, expensive wines for small (often refundableupon-purchase) fees, which can be a great way to experience a wine that might otherwise be out of reach.
Our larger wine regions – Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago – host a multitude of winery-based events throughout the year, plus there is a huge range of wine tours available, from limousines to cycle trails. Compact wine regions such as Waipara, Nelson, Wairarapa and Gisborne make it easy to visit many producers in a short time, and there is no denying the spectacular scenery when visiting wineries on Auckland’s Waiheke Island.
This summer, whether you’re staying at home or travelling further afield, do be sure to check out things ahead online as there are numerous food and wine festivals, concerts and other fabulous winery events around the country that will provide even more fun in the sun.