Exploring North Island's Wine Country

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

New Zealand’s North Island is an incredibly scenic destination, and there is no end to the historical landmarks, museums, attractions and scenic vantage points that travellers can enjoy. There are also a number of wonderful wineries, vineyards and wine tasting tours available, and the best way to see them all is often simply to hire a car and make the journey yourself, stopping at the places along the way that interest you the most. Although there are a number of affordable rental car options on the North Island, the most popular place is at the Auckland International Airport.
Check out a small selection of what the North Island has to offer:
Vidal Estate Winery
This incredible winery in the middle of Hastings is one of the best places to learn about wine and pair it with some incredible local cuisine. The Vidal Estate Winery was founded in 1905 when an immigrant began planting grapevines in his stable. Along with being one of the oldest vineyards in the Hawke’s Bay area, Vidal Estate Winery caters to tourists with a number of great attractions. You can start your visit with a walking tour through the vineyards themselves, and you can actually watch them make wine in the traditional way before bottling.
Along with the wonderful Chardonnays, Syrahs and Merlots available to taste and buy, visitors can stay for a full meal in the winery restaurant. Delicious offerings like mussels, pork belly sliders and venison are perfectly matched with various wines by trained staff.
Te Awa Winery
Just a few miles from the Vidal Estate Winery is the Te Awa Winery, which exclusively uses local grapes to create their wines. Along with the standard Merlot, Chardonnay and Syrah that is typically grown and used in the Hawke’s Bay region, Te Awa Winery makes a crisp Sauvignon Blanc and even some bottles of Pinotage.
The focus of this winery is on blends, which use a variety of grape varietals in order to create the perfect wine. While you are there, stop in for a tasting session or a full meal in the inviting winery restaurant. Round out your stay in Hastings with a walk along the Tukituki River, a swim at Waimarama Beach or a tour of the Art Deco architecture along Heretaunga Street.
Soljans Estate
This winery outside of Auckland is one of the few New Zealand wineries that has been family-owned for three generations. Although wines from Soljans Estate are incredibly popular throughout the country, the family that started it all was actually from Croatia. A visit to the Soljans Estate will teach you all about the family history, the process of making wine and how to differentiate between various types of wine and impress your friends.
New Zealand’s North Island is the ultimate place for wine lovers to explore on a self-guided driving tour. Each of these wineries and vineyards is a great place to stop on a visit through the island.
Image courtesy of jopetsy/flickr.com


About Author