Auckland Wine Tours
Auckland is located in the uppermost part of New Zealand’s North Island. It is New Zealand’s largest city, and home to around 100 wineries. The area’s first vines were planted in 1819, which makes Auckland home to some of New Zealand’s oldest vineyards.
Auckland enjoys a tropical climate, with humid summer days and mild winter weather. These conditions are similar to those experienced on the west coast of France, which is why the wines from Auckland are often compared to those of Bordeaux.
Auckland is renowned for its Bordeaux style wines, including cabernet sauvignons and chardonnays. The region also produces excellent merlots, pinot noirs, and sauvignon blancs.
Auckland is a relatively small wine-producing region, but it has many wineries. The area is home to many high quality boutique wineries, which have replaced many larger inferior producers. Most of Auckland’s wineries are found at Waiheke Island, although recently towns like Kumeu and Henderson have become important wine tourism areas. The following are just a sample of the large number of wineries Auckland offers.
480 Matakana Road, Matakana Coast
Ascension Vineyard has been owned and run by the Soljan family for the last five generations. The family love to share their passion for wine with visitors at their cellar door. Wine tasting costs NZ$8, and includes at least six wines and a souvenir glass. For an extra NZ$7, tourists can take the winery and vineyard tour. This entertaining tour will give guests an insight into the winemaking process, and conclude with a tasting session. Private group tastings are also available on request.
Brick Bay Wines
Arabella Lane, Sandspit
Brick Bay Wines offers daily tastings in their unique Glass House. This purpose built complex has wall-to-wall windows, allowing guests to look out over the lake and vineyard as they enjoy their wine. Tasting sessions cost NZ$4, but this fee is refundable if purchasing a bottle. The sessions include the current range of pinot gris, roses, pharos, and cabernet franc merlots, and some special past vintages. Before you leave, make sure to walk down the Sculpture Trail, an outdoor art gallery stretching for two kilometers.
601 State Highway 16, Huapai
Coopers Creek offers one of the largest ranges of wines in the area, with several merlots, pinot noirs, syrahs, sauvignon blancs, pinot gris, and chardonnays available for tasting. The cellar door is open daily. It offers visitors the chance to try the current wines and some selected older vintages. Guests are encouraged to take their time at the vineyard and enjoy a cheese platter or bring their own picnic lunch.
Karaka Point Vineyard
Waiau Pa/Clarks Beach, Franklin
Karaka Point Vineyard is a small family-owned winery specializing in fruity chardonnays and Bordeaux-style red wines. The cellar door is open every weekend for tasting sessions, and during the week by appointment. While the tasting is lovely, visitors will learn more on a winery tour. For just NZ$10 guests will receive a tasting session, souvenir glass, and a map of the Estate Gardens. For something a little more indulgent, the KPV De-Vine Tasting and Picnic is a must. NZ$45 includes all the features of the first tour, plus a picnic basket. It’s stocked with a plush picnic rug, a cellar door gift voucher, and plenty of seasonal goodies.
Church Bay Road, Oneroa
Mudbrick Vineyard prides itself on traditional winemaking techniques. Owners Nick and Robyn Jones handpick the grapes, and hand plunge them to create vibrant wines. Their range includes cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, syrah, and chardonnay. You can taste all these wines daily at the cellar door for a NZ$5 fee. If you’ve got the time to spare, Mudbrick also offers guided vineyard tours, cheese platters, breads and olives.
Auckland International Airport is New Zealand’s largest airport. It provides direct connections from many international destinations including Argentina, Australia, Korea, Chile, the United States, Singapore, Canada, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and the Pacific Islands. Air New Zealand and Freedom Air also connect Auckland with many major New Zealand cities, such as Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Wanaka.
Auckland International Airport is located 21 kilometers, or 14 miles, from the hub of the city. This means most travelers will need transport to their accommodation.
The Airbus is the easiest and most affordable way to get to the city. It travels from the airport to Auckland every 20 minutes, and every half an hour after 6 pm. Adult tickets cost NZ$15, and children’s fares are NZ$6.
Alternatively, visitors can get a taxi to Auckland. Taxi terminals are located in front of the domestic terminals, and at the western side of the international terminal. Travelers can expect to pay around NZ$40 for a taxi to the city center.
Visitors looking to drive around Auckland may like to hire a car for their stay. ACE Rentals and Budget offer compact vehicles, while Maui Campervans and Motorhomes hire mobile homes.
However, most wine tourists opt to take a coach tour to the vineyards. Auckland Wine Trail Tours and Fine Wine Tours offer personalized service and a range of touring packages.
As you’d expect in a city of this size, Auckland has plenty of accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes.
The city centre offers affordable accommodation close to Auckland’s shopping districts and restaurants. The City Central Hotel is great value for families.
But staying near a big city doesn’t mean you can’t get back to nature. Stay by the water at Bethells Beach Cottages or Palm Beach Bungalows, or enjoy the mountain wilderness of KareKare Treetops Lodge or Tikapa Moana Lodge.
Wine buffs will love Villa Northeim and Owhanake Bay Estate, working wineries offering accommodation within their vineyards.
Auckland Wine Events
Every February – The Devonport Food, Wine and Music Festival is a weekend-long celebration held at Windsor Reserve. It pairs New Zealand wine with local foods including seafood, ice cream, and more. The event features performances by some of New Zealand’s top musicians. Tickets cost NZ$35 before the event (including a glass of wine) or NZ$40 at the gate.
Every March – The Matakana Food and Wine Festival is a one-day event celebrating local wine and food. The event features stalls from 10 local wineries, well known restaurant, and live music. Tickets are NZ$65 at the gate or NZ$55 for earlybirds.
Every April – The Auckland Wine and Food Festival combines two of Auckland’s great loves. Visitors can sample award-winning wines, cheeses, and other gourmet delights. Live music and cooking demonstrations will entertain the crowds. The NZ$20 entry fee includes a free tasting glass and wine tasting.