Any New Zealand gourmet trail would be incomplete without a visit to Hawke’s Bay, with top vineyards and producers who make the most of the local bounty
Blessed with long sunshine hours and fertile plains, Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s most productive growing regions. It is also the second largest when it comes to wine production.
Hawke’s Bay’s wine legacy dates back to 1851 when French missionaries established Mission Estate near the Ngaruroro River between Napier and Hastings. Fine wines have since been a Hawke’s Bay tradition, with Te Mata Estate, Vidal Estate, McDonalds Winery and Glenvale Winery (now Esk Valley Winery) joining Mission Estate as established wineries by the 1920’s. Tiny family-owned boutique producers thrive here alongside the multi-regional entities, all sharing a commitment to great wine making. This passion is evident in the numerous awards Hawke’s Bay wineries have walked away with on the world stage.
Wineries and vineyards are dotted throughout Hawke’s Bay, although Gimblett Gravels and Ngatarawa Triangle are two of its most famous wine producing sub-regions. These regions produce a large portion of the Bordeaux blend reds that Hawke’s Bay is revered for. Owing to its geographical diversity, Hawke’s Bay is also capable of producing a number of other varietals to a high standard, including Chardonnay.
Hawke’s Bay’s wineries can be explored on leisurely tours – guided tours are available and are a great way to discover the local gems. Another brilliant way to experience the wineries is on a cycle, riding on especially created trails that link towns and wineries. A number of the wineries have cellar doors and many boast superb winery restaurants that make the most of the abundant fresh local produce. Hawke’s Bay also forms part of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail that takes you to more than 100 cellar doors across four New Zealand regions.
The weekend farmers’ market in Hawke’s Bay is the perfect place to pick up artisan products and fresh produce that complement the region’s wine. You can also meet the growers and producers behind these fantastic products. We also recommend attending one of the region’s food and wine events, including the hugely popular bi-annual Hawke’s Bay Food And Wine Classic (F.A.W.C).