Is there any better way for a group of girls to spend a sunny Auckland day-trip than visiting gorgeous Waiheke Island to indulge in fine wines and delicious food? The answer is no.
There’s a reason Waiheke is known as ‘the island of wine’ – there are more vineyards and wineries than you can shake a pohutukawa branch at, many of them internationally regarded and award-winning. But the beauty of the tour we enjoyed was the chance to discover some of the island’s slightly lesser-known gems.
Run by husband and wife team Jean and Wayne, Waiheke Island Wine Tours is tailored to small groups, with personalised itineraries for a more intimate experience. Wayne also throws in a good dose of local history as you travel between vineyards.
As someone who enjoys wine but doesn’t know a lot about what happens before it gets to my glass, it was a fantastic way to learn about the process of how the wines are produced and all the hard work and passion that goes into creating them.
We started off with a tasting at Jurassic Ridge Vineyard and Winery, named for the rugged terrain it sits on. Owner, viticulturist and winemaker Lance is fascinating and was happy to answer any questions as we sipped away. Many of the wines are award-winning drops – the Cabernet Franc was to die for.
Next we headed to Kennedy Point Vineyard – Waiheke’s first certified organic vineyard – where we enjoyed another wine tasting, fresh oysters and some of the delicious olive oils from trees on the vineyard. The rosé was delightfully refreshing as the sun was getting hotter.
At the beautiful Casita Miro our extremely knowledgeable (not to mention handsome) maître d’ talked us through a comprehensive wine tasting as we tucked into fresh toasted foccacia and dips. Miro Vineyard’s restaurant has garnered a reputation for its hospitality, wines and gorgeous Spanish-style architecture.
We finished the day at Peacock Sky, named so for sharing its estate with a flock of wild peacocks. For me the highlight of the day was the incredible food and wine matching created by the owners, with delicious morsels lovingly prepared to match each wine. Having worked up a real appetite now, we sat down to a delicious lunch of huge fresh platters and champagne.
We returned home full, happy and more knowledgeable about the wonderful wines Waiheke has to offer.