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Whether you’re a seasoned wine or beer enthusiast or just like to enjoy a good glass or two, the Great Lake Taupo region will keep you happy with its boutique vineyards, craft beer breweries and wine and beer merchants.
The Taupo region’s free-draining volcanic pumice soil, created by the eruption of the nearby volcanoes of Tongariro National Park over thousands of years, combines with the higher altitude and cooler climate to produce wines with a very distinctive bouquet. You’ll find these wines in retail stores and restaurants throughout the region, but what better way to experience the region’s wines than at the vineyards where they were grown.
Take a day to visit the region’s beautiful vineyards and enjoy fine food and wine in a vineyard restaurant. The southern end of Lake Taupo is home to most of the region’s vineyards.
Omori Estate lies in the southwestern corner of Lake Taupo in the village of Omori. The Estate grows olives, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes, and its produce is available from restaurants and stores throughout the region. The Omori Estate Cellar Door is open for wine and olive oil tastings and light snacks from Christmas until Waitangi weekend (around 6 February). Bookings can be made outside of these times for group visits, tastings and special functions. The Estate hosts a Jazz/Blues concert each New Years Eve and holds a gourmet food market around Christmas time.
Floating Rock Vineyard and Café (Kuratau River Wines) is situated in Kuratau, at the southwestern end of Lake Taupo. Floating Rock prides itself on being accredited as ‘Sustainable’ by Sustainable Wines NZ. They produce an exclusive range of wines from Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vines with distinctive varietal characteristics. The wines can be enjoyed in their winery and café which is open during school and public holiday periods from 9.30am – 4.00pm. Floating Rock also sells olive and lavender oils and has luxury accommodation available.
There are several places to buy and enjoy good wine in Taupo. If you want to pair good wine with gourmet food, try Vine Eatery and Bar on Tuwharetoa St. There are over 150 hand-picked wines on offer and the Eatery specialises in delicious tapas and platters to accompany your chosen tipple.
Café Pinot, situated within Huka Village, is another eatery that has a great selection of dishes to match with their well-balanced wine selection. The café is in a unique setting overlooking their beautiful vineyard with stunning views out to Mt Tauhara and beyond.
For all your wine and gourmet food purchases, head to The Merchant of Taupo on Spa Rd where you will find the Central North Island’s largest range. The shelves are loaded with local and imported products with a great range of wine, beer and spirits to choose from. For a thoroughly relaxing afternoon activity, visit The Merchant to stock up on gourmet treats and your favourite wines and head down to the lake for a picnic.
Craft Beer Breweries
Taupo has two of its own craft beer breweries that are making their mark on the thriving craft beer scene.
Crafty Trout Brewing Co
The Crafty Trout Brewing Co is a boutique brewery making craft beer and cider. The brewery uses Lake Taupo's mineral waters formed through volcanic fire and glacial ice along with New Zealand's finest malts, hops and yeast. Visit their Bier Kafe on Tongariro St to experience the 7 beers and ciders available while soaking up the ambience of the Austrian alpine themed bar and cafe. The menu is beer infused and beer matched! Entertaining and interactive brewery tours are available daily with the Brewmaster who will show you the world's first fully automated Smartbrew system. Bottled beer and cider are available for purchase from the liquor outlet.
Lakeman Brewing Co
The Lakeman Brewing Co brews beer from Taupo's purest natural water and boasts malty, hoppy flavours. Lakeman beer is available from the Mole and Chicken, the Lakehouse, Vine Eatery & Bar, Rose on Roberts, Victoria’s Café Kitchen and Bar and Huka Prawn Park. The Merchant of Taupo and Liquorland Taupo also sell Lakeman beer.