Waiheke Island Vineyard Tour

February 14th, 2010 in Articles by cee 0

The biggest draws to beautiful Waiheke Island (just a short ferry ride from Auckland) are its beaches and its many vineyards.  Unfortunately we arrived here a day late to experience the annual Waiheke Wine & Food Festival.  However, we did get to spend a lazy Sunday sampling wine from 4 of the many vineyards here on the island.  Here’s a little review of the places we visited and the wines we tasted:

Goldwater Estate

Goldwater has an intimate, unpretentious tasting room set amongst its rolling hills.  The nice thing here is that you can walk right up to the vines, where as most vineyards keep them at a distance.  Tastings at Goldwater cost just $3, which includes 4 generous samples of their award winning wines.

Our favs:  Goldwater Zell Waiheke Island Chardonnay ’08 & Goldwater ‘Esslin’ Waiheke Island Merlot ’05.

Cable BayCable Bay Vineyards

Cable Bay is located on the far west side of Waiheke Island; with sweeping views of rolling hills, the ocean and of Auckland off in the distance.  They have an acclaimed restaurant and an art gallery, as well as a sculpture garden overlooking the water.  It’s a truly lovely spot to sip some wine and enjoy the ocean breeze.

Wine tastings cost just $5, and you get a generous sampling of 5 of their wines, which are cultivated both here on Waiheke and in Marlborough on the South Island of New Zealand.

Our favorites were:

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008 & Waiheke Island Five Hills Merlot/Malbec/Cabernet 2006.

Stonyridge Vineyard

Stonyridge is an organic winery.  They are set in a picturesque stone building with a comfortable outdoor veranda overlooking the vineyard.  It seems to be the place where all the cool hipsters go to meet over fine wine and food.

Tastings here are a bit more expensive, and not all wines they offer for tasting are grown on the estate.  Tastings are priced per wine and range from $3 on upwards to $15 for a taste of their award-winning and famous Larose.

Of the wines sampled here, our favorite by far was their Luna Negra Malbec for its flavors of vanilla and spice.  A sampling of this will cost you about $8.
Te Whau

Te Whau Vineyard

With a strict no-nonsense, no additives approach to wine making; this vineyard produces a tasty, high-quality wine.  Of course, the stunning 360 degree views don’t hurt either.  This is truly a must on your wine tour for the scenery as well as the wine.  Te Whau has a restaurant that features a mouth-watering menu and an extensive wine list from various producers.

Their own wines are available for tasting at $3 a taste each.  Both are rich and intense with a lasting flavor:

Te Whau “The Point” 2006 (Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Merlot 30%, Cabernet Franc 15%, Malbec 5%)

Te Whau “The Point” 2007 (Cabernet Sauvignon 54%, Merlot 31%, Cabernet Franc 10%, Malbec 4%)

There are many vineyards on Waiheke, all with their own claims to fame.  The climate & soil here are perfect for viticulture.  Just as enjoyable as the wine are the views; often with the rolling vineyards set against the ocean.  If you’re on Waiheke Island, definately take time out to spend a day sampling some of the wines which are this region’s prized jewels!