Travel Articles

Hawkes Bay Wineries

Hawke's Bay is sometimes called 'New Zealand's answer to Bordeaux'. The name is earned by the world-class examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and the other red Bordeaux varieties that Hawke's Bay seems to produce with consummate ease. The region makes another Bordeaux speciality: luscious Sauternes-like examples of Botrytis Semillon. Be warned – they can be hard to find.

Hawke's Bay is the home of New Zealand's best-known examples of dense, peppery Syrah and haughty, full-flavoured Chardonnay – two very un-Bordeaux-like wines. The region offers so much variety in soil, slope and climate that it is almost impossible to define a local style. If variety adds spice, then the wines of Hawke's Bay provide an exotic seasoning to any vinous diet. The region's coastline and fishing port provides fresh seafood to match local Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc while Hawke's Bay and Tararua farms offer new season lamb, beef and venison (Cervena) to accompany hearty reds.

New Zealand's first winery was established in the Hawke's Bay in 1851 when French Catholic missionaries planted vines at the Mission Estate. Today, some 25 wineries grace this region, which boasts an average of 2245 hours of sunshine annually. A drawcard for wine buffs is Harvest Hawke's Bay, a wine and food festival held the first weekend of every February.

Wineries
  • Brookfields Winery and Restaurant
    One of Hawkes Bay's older wineries with its beautiful rose gardens, views of the vineyard, hand-made brick winery and tasting room and the petanque court.
  • Esk Valley Estate Hawkes Bay
    Mediterranean-style winery offering free tastings of both red and white wines, and tours by appointment. Picnic area.
  • Church Road
    Tours of the winery and museum daily. Restaurant and garden dining available.
  • Mission Estate Winery
    New Zealand's oldest established winery. Wine sales and tastings and tours. A restaurant and craft gallery operate from the historic seminary building.
  • Crossroads Winery & Vineyard
    A boutique winery founded in 1990 and known for producing elegant wines of high quality and consistency. 
  • Sacred Hill Winery
    This picturesque cellar door facility is considered to be one of the best. Taste the Sacred Hill wines with friends in a sophisticated yet relaxed environment.
Wine Tours
  • Hawke's Bay in a Glass
    Take a 'voyage of discovery' on a personalised wine tour.
  • Liberty Tours
    Boutique winery and sightseeing tours.
  • Toast the Bay
    Wine tours and scenic tours.

Things to Do
Hawke's Bay Wine Country is one of New Zealand's premier food, wine and lifestyle destinations. The range of microclimates and soil types has created a diverse range of wine styles. The region's fresh produce can be sampled on the Hawke's Bay Wine Country Food Trail or check out the local markets.

For lovers of art deco, a visit to Napier and Hastings is a must. Both were rebuilt in art deco style after the devastating 1931 earthquake. Nearby, Cape Kidnappers gannet colony is the world's largest most accessible mainland gannet colony. Don’t miss the region's extensive coastline and winding rivers – a fisherman's paradise. Te Mata Peak is another Hawke's Bay icon. From this magnificent vantage point, you can view a hinterland full of diversity and adventure.

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