WINES OF THE WINTERLESS NORTH
WINERY TOUR 10-13 OCTOBER
We will leave Tauranga early, stopping for a quick coffee/ comfort break at Ngatea, before continuing North to spend a few hours at our first venue,The Sculptureum. Here, we will explore the gardens & enjoy a wine tasting & lunch..The Sculptureum Experience is made up of three sculpture gardens and six art galleries spanning over 1.5km of flat paths. The private collection includes over 700 works of art by local and international artists. From live rabbits to the grand Chihuly glass chandelier and everything in between, you are guaranteed to find inspiration around every corner during your visit to this immaculately kept attraction.
The 11 acre award-winning vineyard overlooks the sculpture gardens with views out to Little & Great Barrier Islands. The vineyard was first planted in 1994 as Hyperion Winery. In 2007 Sandra & Anthony Grant increased the size of the vineyard & changed the grape varieties grown
"The vineyard has held sustainable accreditation since 2011. The current wines available are Chardonnay, Syrah, Bordeaux Blend & Rose.
The wines complement the fresh seasonal local food which is show-cased at Rothko, the on-site restaurant.
Jarrod McGregor (Head Chef) & his team work with local produce & suppliers "to craft each menu to embody the fresh flavours & the region & the season". (www.sculptureum.nz)
We will travel on to Whangarei, stopping en route at Longview estate for a tasting, then settle into our first night's accommodation, Cheviot Park Motor Lodge, & mentally prepare for the next three day's wine tastings!
But,Longview Estate's White Diamond, which at the start of 2016 was retailing locally for about $30 a bottle, is now being sold for a whopping $598.00!
The vineyard was taken over by a group of Chinese and New Zealand investors and the super-sweet variety is being lapped up by the Chinese, clearly prepared to pay top dollar.
The boutique wine had a cult-like following locally, and when news it would soon disappear from Northland shelves broke, hundreds of Advocate readers expressed their disappointment online.
The vineyard's new owners said the 570 per cent price increase was a reflection of what the Chinese were prepared to pay for the "niche" product.
Australasian Food Corporation (AFC), an NZX-listed company bought a 51 per cent share in the business on March 1. The remaining 49 per cent is owned by two Chinese investors.
Demand in China was greater than what the vineyard could produce and the variety appealed to the Chinese palate as it was "fruity and quite sweet".
Yes, we will be having this controvertial drop in our tasting1
"We absolutely fell in love with the Kerikeri area and believed in its potential for growing quality grapes to make premium wines that suit most palates from the novice wine drinker to the connoisseur."
Cuisine magazine comments: "The elegant Chardonnay has a creamy richness. The Dolcetto....is a punchy, sturdy representation. The sweet, fruity Pheasant's Walk is a red blend that combines fruity Pinot Noir and earthy Chambourcin to make an easy-drinking, everyday wine. Plus- try the grappa & brandy distilled at the winery, which is used to make Cottle Hill's walnut liqueur and to fortify its white and tawny ports."
We will move on to Marsden Estate (named after Samuel Marsden, a driving force behind the establishment of Anglican Mission stations in NZ) for a tasting, presentation & two-course lunch.. It's believed that Samuel planted the first grape-vines in Kerikeri nearly two centuries ago.
"Marsden Estate was planted in the nineties & has ten acres of vineyards, made up of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Muscat, Merlot, Pinotage, Chambourcin, Syrah & Tempranillo.
Approximately 20 other local vineyards also have their wine made here.
"All the grapes for their wines are grown on site, except the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc & the Viognier, which comes from a vineyard in Mangawhai, about 90 minutes south.
"The Northland soils and climate, coupled with the extended growing season, produce wines with distinct regional flavours." (www.marsdenestate.co.nz)
Our final visit for the day will be to Ake Ake Vineyard. John Clarke & Aynsley Quenault purchased the property in 2004.Aynsley had completed 10 years of OE & John moved here from the Channel Islands, where his family had been wine merchants for 5 generations. They went to the library & got books about growing grapes & making wine Their first two wines from 2005, their first full vintage, both won medals, which made them think the industry wasn't too difficult to master.
"We set about planting more vines and building a winery and have increased the vineyard so we now grow seven varieties .. and source... grapes from other quality growers...
in 2012, we started the process of converting the vineyard to Organic grape growing. ..In the vineyard, we spend a lot of time opening up the canopy, extensive leaf removal around the bunches and shoot positioning. This lets the sun and breeze in, which keeps the bunches and canopy dry to prevent mildews and rot and helps the grapes ripen.
In the winery, we basically just guide the wine from grape to bottle, with as little interfernce as possible....all our wines are made on the vineyard and are bottled here unfined. This means they have been clarified naturally, using time and/or filtering rather than using gelatine, eggs, dairy or fish products. We do not add copper, gums, caramel or grape concentrate to our wines." www.akeakevineyard.co.nz
Our accommodation for the night will be at Stay Kerikeri.
In the 1830's, Omata was, briefly, a manganese mine. The estate, of approximately 70 acres, was bought by Captain John Wright in 1831. The property has a shared boundary with the original 220 acres bought in 1830 by James Clendon. Omata's property purchase agreement includes the sale price of muskets, blankets, money & various items. The agreement hangs in the vineyard.
"Omata has approximately 8,000 vines made up of Syrah, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris grapes. Each of the varieties has been planted in carefully selected sites within the vineyard to maximise the microclimates. Omata's vines grow on clay slopes within a stone's throw of the ocean -the sea breezes maintaining a long and even season. All of our vines are carefully hand tended and our wines are produced using traditional techniques." (www.omata.co.nz)
We will continue on to Paroa Bay Winery for a presentation, tasting and lunch. The winery is nestled in a beautiful setting in the hills of Paroa Bay, near Russell. This boutique family-owned vineyard & winery combines luxury accommodation and traditional, handmade,
"We employ traditional techniques of viticulture and dry grown vines in the hope of creating distinctive handcrafted wines of character in low yields, reflecting the white clay soils and warm climate of the Bay of Islands. An estate covering 24 hectares of rolling hills, we currently have just 4.5 hectares of planted vines including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot."
A recent visitor to the venue's restaurant commented on TripAdvisor:
"Beautiful location, impeccable service, delicious food and wine. A magical evening at this amazing restaurant. Great service with wonderful staff. I can’t say enough about Sage. Not inexpensive but worth every dollar.Truly memorable."
We will continue on through the scenic countryside to our accommodation in Whangarei, Cheviot Park Motor Lodge.
We will enjoy a tasting & presentation at Millars Vineyard. Millars, a boutique family-owned enterprise, is on an ancient food-plain, sheltered by the Brynderwyn ranges & is influenced by the cooling sea breezes of Mangawhai's coastline. The family are committed to producing premium quality wines that reflect the unique local terroir. These include Pinot Gris,, Viognier, Gewurztraminer & Syrah.
We will move on to Te Whai Bay Wines to listen to their story & sample their wines. This is another privately owned boutique vineyard, & is situated on a hillside terrace in a valley described as Northland's Tuscany. They produce hand-crafted high-quality wines in limited quantities. Their range includes Chardonnay, Merlot,, Chambourcin, Bordeaux-style Reds & Pinot Gris.
On our last winery tour to Matakana, we thoroughly enjoyed our tasting & meal at Runner Duck Estate (Plume Restaurant), so en route for home, we will treat ourselves again to a tasting & lunch.
This 3-hectare vineyard was planted in 2003. It includes about 1.5 hectares of Syrah, with the remainder in Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot & Petit Verdot. This allows the estate to produce a pure Bordeaux varietal, a Syrah, a Methode Traditionnelle & a Rose.
Another 0.5 ha plot owned by the vineyard produces a crop of Sangiovese. They also produce a semi-dry Pinot Gris & a fruity chardonnay. The venue refuses to produce wines from sub-standard years.
Plume has now built 12 luxury villas on site.
BE QUICK TO SECURE A SEAT!
Single - $1241.00 pp.; Twin share - $1060.00 pp.
This includes door-to-door transport, ferry crossing, entry fees (e.g to Sculptureum), tastings/presentations, lunches, accommodation.
It does not include breakfast/evening meal. (our accommodation has cooking facilities & is within walking distance to restaurants),or additional beverages at venues.
Payment can be made to account: 01 0322 021 4423 00 or posted to 14 Ridgemount Tce.
Withdrawing from the tour two weeks before travelling may incur deductions made for unrecoverable expenses paid in advance to venues.
In the unlikely event of the tour not proceeding, all monies will be returned.
Phone: 0275 224607 0r (07)5441383