Auckland has a range of wine regions within easy reach of the central city, including the vineyard island of Waiheke and the historic Kumeu region.
Geographically diverse, Auckland is home to three distinct wine regions and around 100 wineries. Rich, ripe merlot, cabernet sauvignon and Syrah, as well as smooth, fruity chardonnay and pinot gris call Auckland home and thrive in its fertile volcanic soils.
One of the world’s most exclusive – and spectacular – wine growing regions, Waiheke Island is a short ferry ride from the central city. With approximately 27 boutique vineyards and wineries, Waiheke is one of New Zealand’s award-winning wine-growing regions and billed as one of the world’s top 10 destinations in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016. It is blessed with a warm, dry microclimate and is renowned for its intensely flavoured varietals.
Compact in size, this island gem is perfect for a day trip or a weekend trip. You can opt for a wine tour or explore the region’s wineries independently at your own pace by bike. Most wineries and vineyards have cellar doors with on-site cafes or restaurants. Often, you can meet the wine makers and learn the story of the wine you taste – a very special experience. Among its many wineries are the Provence-style Mudbrick with uninterrupted views of Rangitoto Island in the Waitemata Harbour, and a chance to view Auckland’s cityscape from afar.
Stonyridge, nestled amongst a swathe of olive groves, is dedicated in its quest to produce New Zealand’s finest cabernet blends and offers a taste of the south of France with a distinctly Kiwi twist. Poderi Cresci with its spectacular rural setting and an award-winning restaurant will transport you to Italy. Man O’ War, on the opposite side of the ferry terminal, is a bit of a hike to get to, but its relaxed setting and fantastic wines make the trip well worth it. Another island gem is Passage Rock with multiple award-winning Syrah.
Auckland’s oldest wine region, some Kumeu wineries can date their origins back to the 1930s when the Croatians first settled in the area.
A warm coastal climate provides ideal wine growing conditions with the region’s wines regularly recognised on a global platform. Chardonnay and Merlot are highlights though the range is broad. Among the wineries here are Kumeu River Wines, Soljans Estate, Matua, Babich Wines and Nobilo – some of these among the oldest wineries in New Zealand.
About an hour north from the central city, Matakana boasts numerous wineries amidst its rolling green hills. Its vines are relatively recent produce stylish pinot gris, Syrah and Bordeaux reds.
Treat yourself to a relaxed gourmet lunch at a vineyard restaurant and meet the winemakers who overcome the region’s humid and balmy climate conditions to produce good bodied and textured wines. Ascension Wine Estate will transport you to Tuscany. Experience a unique combination of art and wine on boutique vineyard Brick Bay’s outdoor sculpture trail through native landscape. Mahurangi River Winery, Heron’s Flight Vineyard, Runner Duck, Omaha Bay Vineyard and Ransoms are among popular wineries in the region. A wine tour is a good way to explore the wineries in this region.