We love wine! Shocker, right? It’s no surprise then that when we travel we always try to scope out the local wineries, vineyards or varietals. We’ve done the same in Italy, Nelson, and Texas. New Zealand was no different, except we actually modified our itinerary so we could spend a few days in Hawke’s Bay. Wineries in Hawke’s Bay are one of the country’s leading producers of wine, especially reds. SOLD! With over 70 wineries in the region, deciding where to go can be daunting! We’ll share our five favorite wineries in Hawke’s Bay for your next trip.
A popular way to visit the wineries is pedaling to each spot along the Te Awanga coast. Coastal Wine Cycles. They offer beach cruiser bikes with big, comfy seats for a nice, comfortable ride. They also will set you up with a map and recommended a route based on how far you feel like pedaling for the day.
As a tip, bring a rain parka! The sky was bright blue and gorgeous then mid-way through our ride the rain clouds rolled in and we got drenched! Then, out of nowhere, it started to hail! yes, hail came down from the sky while we quickly pedaled to the next winery! Although we had some unfortunate weather at times, the views of the water were stunning and definitely worth the soggy ride to the wineries.
In no particular order, we are sharing our favorite wineries in Hawke’s Bay below.
1. Clearview Estate Winery
This was our first stop after collecting our bikes. Roughly a 10-minute ride from the pick-up. Clearwater wines range from whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, Rose to various reds including Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and finally dessert wines. Their reserve Cabernet Franc and Enigma which is a blend of their best Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Overall we found Clearview to offer the most variety of wines to taste in their cellar door tasting room. They also offer a full-service restaurant and have limited accommodations for overnight stays on site.
2. Te Awanga Estate
We were certain we had taken a wrong turn as we headed down a dirt and gravel road en route to the next winery in Hawke’s Bay. We were searching for the Cellar Door at Te Awanga Estate so we could taste many Rod McDonald Wine labels including Trademark, Quarter Acre, One Off, Te Awanga Estate and One Off.
Before we stepped inside for the tasting, we had to admire the views from outside. The patio is perfectly situated with full views of the expansive vineyards. It’s the perfect spot to order a bottle of wine and enjoy the afternoon.
We tasted the above 5 wines. Both the Quarter Acre and Mister Syrahs were the clear winners for us! Don’t miss this stop! If the wines aren’t reason enough, the gorgeous bike ride here certainly delivers!
3. Elephant Hill Estate & Winery
The final stop on our bike tour was at Elephant Hill Estate & Winery. We planned this one for the end since it was also going to be our lunch spot. The views are simply stunning. The restaurant is filled with large, floor-to-ceiling windows with views of both the vineyard and the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
On nice weather days, the patio is unparalleled for the views offered at wineries in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Since we were dining with them, we were able to get the tasting fee waived for their reserve collection. We were able to try 6 wines at their cellar door before being seated. This way we knew exactly what to order as a glass for our lunch.
Their reserve Sauvignon Blanc was the perfect pairing with my octopus dish. The food was divine, we would highly recommend a stop!
4. Mission Estate Winery
Although reminiscent of a seminary, because it was, this is now home to Mission Estate Winery. Known as the birthplace of New Zealand wine, they have been in winemaking for over 160 years! As New Zealand’s oldest winery, there is no shortage of award-winning varietals to try!
The mission reserve Cabernet/Merlot blend was our personal favorite. We would happily drink any wine from their reserve collection and overall we found them to be quite reasonably priced.
As we found at all wineries in Hawke’s Bay, the grounds are stunning. Leave time to explore if you aren’t admiring them from the restaurant. There are several picturesque spots throughout.
5. Church Road Winery
Our favorite interior of a winery in Hawke’s Bay was hands down Church Road Winery. The building is an old church and the wooden beams give the room a rustic, unique feel! Church Road is known as one of the first producers of Bordeaux style red wine in New Zealand. In addition to fun wine-themed gifts and trinkets, the cellar door is the spot to taste their wines including the Church Road, McDonald, and Reserve series lines.
Try to plan your visit to include a tour to learn about the history of the building, the winemaking process or visit the underground wine museum hosed there.
While we weren’t able to enjoy, Church Road Winery offers a unique tasting menu to try different wines and bites daily at 11 am. Guaranteed this will be on our list to enjoy on our next visit!
Bonus: Breckenridge Lodge
While not a winery, we need to give you a wine-centered place to stay during your trip to wineries in Hawke’s Bay. We chose the Breckenridge Lodge because it offers luxury accommodations and gourmet dining experience. Chef Malcolm and his wife, Ellie provide a friendly environment in the heart of the wine region with gourmet breakfast and dinners included each evening. Due to Malcolm’s extensive knowledge of food and wine, he can provide pairings with the dinners of New Zealand wines to accompany each course!
The dining experience begins each evening in the sitting room or on the patio where a complimentary aperitif is served. Since the property sits high on a hill, there are stunning views throughout.
Once it was time for dinner, you are escorted into the gorgeous dining room. We were the only guests most evenings but if there are others you would share the dining experience with them. A great way to meet fellow travelers during your trip. The dining room offers an expansive picture window for views of the vineyards.
Five courses with be artfully prepared and introduced by Chef Malcolm. We highly recommend the wine pairing option to experience even more of the region’s best wines.
Our room included a gorgeous patio. We loved beginning each morning with coffee from the comfort of our room and admiring the views.
Lastly, our morning would begin with a freshly prepared breakfast and cappuccino! Such a wonderful way to begin our day from the gorgeous city. You really can’t go wrong with a stay at Breckenridge Lodge and we can’t wait to return!
Overall the wineries in Hawke’s Bay will not disappoint. Make sure you include a couple days here to explore the area and indulge, it really makes for an unforgettable couple’s trip in New Zealand!