Hawke’s Bay Wine Tours
Hawke’s Bay is found on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It is the second largest wine region in New Zealand, and one of the most respected. Hawke’s Bay has produced wine for around 100 years, far longer than most of the other areas in the country.
Hawke’s Bay area has a range of different soil types, which help the region’s vineyards produce more wine varieties than anywhere else in the country. Hawke’s Bay enjoys a dry and temperate climate, making it ideal for viticulture.
Hawke’s Bay Wines
With its long and warm summer days, Hawke’s Bay is an ideal place for chardonnay. The area also specializes in slow-ripening red grape varieties, including the cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, and syrah. The early ripening pinot noir also grows surprisingly well in Hawke’s Bay.
Hawke’s Bay Wineries
Most of the region’s wineries can be found in the fertile Heretaunga Plains around Hastings and near the city of Napier. Tourists traveling to Hawke’s Bay shouldn’t miss the following five wineries.
Park Estate Winery
2087 Pakowhai Road, Napier
Dianne and Owen Park’s winery was once a traditional orchard. Now tourists flock to the site to taste the Park’s grape and fruit wines, and fresh fruit juices. The Park Estate Restaurant and Caf offers classic dishes with Asian and Mediterranean twists.
Crossroads Winery and Vineyard
1747 Korokipo Road, State Highway 50, Fernhill
Crossroads is a boutique winery located between Napier and Hastings. The winery is renowned for its award-winning Talisman, a unique blend of six red grape varieties. The winery also produces cabernet merlot, chardonnay, and pinot noir. Free tastings are available every day for groups of eight or less. Visitors are invited to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy the winery’s beautiful surroundings.
Trinity Hill Winery
2096 State Highway 50, RD5, Hastings
Trinity Hill produces internationally recognized wines which are served in some of the best restaurants in Europe. The winery creates classic styles like cabernet sauvignons, merlots, and chardonnays alongside newer varieties including viogniers, pinot gris, and cabernet francs. The cellar door is open daily for tasting sessions, which can be paired with an antipasto platter. Visitors may also enjoy browsing the winery’s art gallery.
Esk Valley Estate Winery
Main Road, Bay View
Esk Valley Estate Winery is famous for using traditional methods, like hand plunging, to create subtle red wine varieties. The winery also creates a range of white wines, including sauvignon blancs, chardonnays, chenin blancs, and verdelhos. The winery’s signature creation is The Terraces, which is regarded as one of New Zealand’s finest reds. The winery offers daily tastings and tours by appointment.
Mission Estate Winery
Church Road, Taradale
Mission Estate Winery was established by the French Marist religious order in 1851, making it New Zealand’s oldest vineyard. Winery tours run daily at 10:30 am and 2 pm and are a must for history buffs. They conclude with a tasting session of Mission Estate’s award-winning wine range in the unique underground cellar. The winery’s restaurant, a converted seminary building, offers diners stunning views of the vineyard and Hawke’s Bay.
Visiting Hawke’s Bay
Visitors with time to spare should consider driving to Hawke’s Bay. While it is around five hours from Auckland and four hours from Wellington, the driving is easy and the countryside is beautiful.
Hawke’s Bay is part of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, a popular tourist route stretching for 380 kilometers. This journey, which starts at Marlborough, takes in wine regions responsible for around 70% of the New Zealand wine industry.
Travelers without access to their own vehicle may like to take a coach tour. This allows tourists to enjoy the beautiful New Zealand countryside without worrying about navigating it. Newmans Coach Lines runs daily coach services from Auckland, Gisborne, Tauranga, Palmerston North, and Wellington.
Hawke’s Bay is also accessible by air, a great option for travelers pressed for time. A flight to Hawke’s Bay airport takes one hour from most major New Zealand destinations. Air New Zealand operates daily flights to Hawke’s Bay. The Hawke’s Bay airport is only a short drive from Napier and Hastings.
Coach tours are also popular with tourists looking to discover the region’s wineries without worrying about driving. The tours offer expert guides who know about the area’s vineyards and the wines they produce. Prinsy’s Experience and Hawke’s Bay Scenic Tours offer half and full-day excursions.
Whatever your budget, Hawke’s Bay has accommodation to suit. Archie’s Bunker and Mountain Valley will impress budget travelers. But for something really different, why not try the affordable rooms at Napier Prison Backpackers? This converted jail housed prisoners until 1993. Now it’s a major tourist attraction and a unique accommodation option.
Couples looking for a little more luxury will enjoy the area’s exclusive retreats and superior motels. Mangapapa Petit Hotel, Breckenridge Lodge, and The Dome Penthouses offer five-star service and plenty of creature comforts.
Hawke’s Bay Wine Events
Every June – Hot Red Hawke’s Bay is a big wine expo with over 100 wines from 20 vendors.
Every February – The WETA Wine and Food Festival, in Central Hawke’s Bay combines good food, good wine, and good jazz. The event costs NZ$15, which covers all wine tastings.
Every April – Gourmet Experience Hawke’s Bay is held in Napier, the heart of New Zealand’s wine, olive oil, cheese, fruit, and vegetable producing regions. This festival gives producers the chance to showcase their fine foods to the public. Entry is NZ$10 for adults and NZ$5 for children.