Auckland's Heritage wine region on a shoe string
Visit Auckland's Heritage wine region on a shoe string!
Fed up of all the rain and want to get out and do something that’s not going to blow the budget? Then get a bunch of mates together and head out to Kumeu wine country. The perfect day trip and only 20 minutes drive from downtown Auckland.
Rules of Engagement:
your team – get a group of fun loving wine tasters
together and arrange a suitable date and time
Pick the driver – designate your sober driver – be good to them and buy them a little something to take home with them at the end of the day – preferably a bottle of wine!
Fill er up – split the tank of petrol between you all and stock up on bottled water
Map – grab your copy of the Kumeu Wine Country guide from any i-site, get out of the city onto SH 16 and GO WEST to Kumeu
Cellar Door etiquette:
Now there are particular rules to follow when tasting in cellar doors. For example it is bad form to help yourself to the wine – you are there for good clean fun not a boozing session.
Ask! The cellar door staff will be only too happy to talk you through their wines, and answer any questions that you may have. Feel free to ask even if you think it’s dumb – they’ve heard them all before!
Swirl, sniff, slurp and spit. There are 8 wineries in Kumeu and if each has an average of 6 wines for tasting, you’ll be sloshed before you know it! So take your time to swirl it around your glass, enjoy the aroma, and then roll around your mouth taking in a little air at the same time. Ask the cellar door staff to show you how (that way you can get a laugh at their expense!) and then follow suit. There will be a spittoon so use it freely. Only don’t do what Miles in Sideways did and drink it yuk!
Keep yourself hydrated. A whole day of wine tasting can take its toll after a while. So make sure you drink plenty of water and enjoy the nibbles that are available at the various wineries.
Buy a bottle when you find one you like – All wineries are pleased to see visitors and for the opportunity to showcase their wines. When you find a wine you like, please purchase and encourage your mates to do the same. It’s the only way the wineries are all going to stay in business and continue to offer this wonderful tasting experience.
Wineries to Visit:
Lincoln Road – stop off first in Henderson at Lincoln Road winery where the 2 Peters will welcome you in their cellar door. Try their delicious ice wine and prize aged ports – there’s something for everyone.
Head back onto State Highway 16 towards Kumeu….
Soljans Estate – is the first winery you’ll come to as you come off of SH16 and is home of the famous Fusion sparkling muscat. One of the oldest wineries in NZ established in 1937 and still owned by the Soljan family. Lots of car parking and friendly cellar door staff so head into their cellar door and get tasting. The café is open for brunch and lunch if you’re feeling a bit peckish or need a caffeine fix.
Kumeu River – leaving Soljans and heading towards Kumeu you’ll hit Kumeu River on the left round a sharp bend. Renowned for their Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, wander into their ambient cellar door and prepare to be wowed.
Nobilo – Continue along through Kumeu township and head up to Nobilo. Steeped in history, this company goes back to the early 1940's and is today owned by Constellation. The historic homestead on the property houses the tasting room and you can try wines from many of the Constellation brands.
Coopers Creek – just along the road from Nobilo is the delightful, vine encased cellar door of Coopers Creek offering a wide range of award winning wines from the main wine growing regions of New Zealand. Jazz on a Sunday in the summer, relaxing in their gardens, ah sounds good. John is waiting for you at the cellar door so what are you waiting for?
Kerr Farm – From Coopers Creek, Go down Station Road to Kerr Farm on Dysart Lane where Jaison and Wendy Kerr have been making wine since 1995. They are a small, boutique vineyard which allows them to get to know their customers personally and swap some chat about wine and food.
Awa Valley – Travel the back roads round rural Kumeu round to Awa Valley - first began in 1970 and has recently been taken over by the Camerons, Colleen and Stuart. They currently produce Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec and as Michael Cooper says, “It’s not often a Chardonnay grown in the Auckland region wins a four star rating in Cuisine” Cuisine Magazine on the Awa Valley Chardonnay 2004
Head on from Awa Valley back to the main highway, and take Waimauku Road on the right where you’re come across Matua Valley – began as a small, family run winery and were pioneers of Sauvignon Blanc. Now owned by Foster, Matua Valley produces a wide range of distinctive wines and are looking forward to welcoming you at their cellar door.
West Brook – Just further on from Matua on Ararimu Valley Road, nestled amongst a beautiful lake and grounds is West Brook. You’re welcome to stroll around the park like grounds after Anthony and Susan have wowed you with their award winning wines.
If you need any help while you’re here in Kumeu, pop into the info centre in the town centre and talk to Bernie or Mal. You may decide to spend the night here in Kumeu, and they will be able to find you the perfect place to stay. Then if you’ve got any time left after visiting these wonderful wineries, grab a chilled bottle and head out to Muriwai Beach to watch the sunset.