Everything you should be doing this Auckland Wine Week
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
When we started thinking about showcasing wines from around our great city, we thought about how we’d best like to spend a day exploring Auckland wines.
We’ve come up with some pretty special experiences, focusing on our favourite wineries around the region. We’re headed to Waiheke, Kumeu and Matakana to explore their historic icons and boutique newcomers alike, and learn about these great regions in the process.
The Discovery Dinner
To launch Auckland Wine Week, we’re sticking to the central city. In order to get you thinking about what is happening around the region, we’re hosting a discovery dinner at Gusto at the Grand, pairing local produce with wines produced by Auckland-based wineries.
Master of Wine Bob Campbell will show off the evening’s wines, talking tasting notes, viniculture and viticulture, and the stories behind the wines. These wines will be perfectly paired with an Italian feast prepared by the team at Gusto. This feast has been designed to match with Auckland’s structured, elegant Chardonnays and rich, vibrant Bordeaux blends, while complementing all the wines in-between.
Of course to really get an idea of what Auckland has to offer in the wine world, you’ll have to get out into the vineyards. There’s no better way to get a sense of what a wine is doing than by standing among the vines, feeling the wind or sun, or even the rain - this is Auckland after all!
To do that, we’ll be taking you on a tour of Auckland’s wine regions, taking in the glitz and glam of Matakana, the sweeping views of Waiheke and the laidback, bucolic vibe of Kumeu.
Our first trip will be an all-inclusive look at what makes Waiheke such a compelling region. Being so close to central Auckland, Waiheke is one of our most visited tourist destinations, attracting people from all over the world. It’s a rare celebrity that visits our shores who isn’t immediately thrown on a chopper to see this hippy paradise-cum-unofficial appellation.
But Waiheke is also beloved of Aucklanders themselves, who make the annual trip over for a special occasion, or a weekend getaway, or just a fun Saturday afternoon adventure. We’ve teamed up with wineries on Waiheke to show you our favourite spots on the island.
Join us on Sunday 16 June to take a trip around some of the most interesting and excellent wines on the island from nine different wineries, including Kennedy Point, Casito Miro and Postage Stamp wines. There’s only so much time in a day though, so we’ll taste all these wines at three vineyards chosen to give you a taste of the island’s diversity - Wild on Waiheke, Tantalus Estate and Batch Winery.
Each of these vineyards will showcase one of Waiheke’s specialities. At Wild on Waiheke, we’ll be tasting through some of the island’s best chardonnays, while at Tantalus Estate, we’ll be appreciating some examples of Waiheke’s newest fad, Syrah. Finally, to top off the day, we’ll head up the hill to Batch Winery, where we’ll look at Waiheke’s classic red, the Bordeaux blend.
Along the way, there’ll be plenty of time for learning about the region and its wines. We’ll take a look at a state-of-the-art gravity fed winery, because how a wine is made is as important as where it comes from, and the two are often intertwined. We’ll also talk about sustainable viticulture, and how it is important for wineries to make sure that they are looking after the land for the next generation of winemakers.
For our Matakana event, we’ve decided to focus on the rarest and most prestigious wines from the area. Join us at the Vintry in Matakana for a tasting that will delight you with old vintages, library releases and winemaker favourites. The event will be an opportunity to taste through some wines that you wouldn’t otherwise get to try, wines that really show off what Matakana can deliver as a wine region.
Winemaker James Graham and wine expert Anto Coates will be taking us on an exciting and delicious journey around Matakana. Eight wineries around the region have selected something from their cellar to be paired with the Vintry’s specially created menu. It really is an incredible lineup of wines - from Monarch Estate’s barrel-fermented Kaleidoscope Chardonnay to Omaha Estate’s flagship Bordeaux blend from the outstanding 2010 vintage.
The Matakana Magic event will take place on the afternoon of Saturday 22 June, so there’ll be plenty of time to visit the iconic Matakana farmer’s market beforehand. If you want to relax into the afternoon and not worry about driving, there’ll be an option to add transport from central Auckland onto your ticket.
We’ll get you home nice and early, so the next day you can be refreshed for our Wineries out West event, where you’ll be - perhaps not surprisingly - exploring the wineries out west.
There’s a lot of history tied up in the wines made in Kumeu, and we want to help you meander through the countryside from cellar door to cellar door, tasting some delicious wines as you go!
It’ll be a self-guided day - you pick the wineries you want to visit, and visit them in whatever way suits you with your special westie wine passport. They’ll provide some unique tasting experiences, and pull out some crazy wines from their cellars. There’ll be local cheeses matched to the wines at Babich and Westbrook wineries, and a chance to taste through a selection of methode traditionnelle wines at Soljans. Kumeu River and Cooper’s Creek will be showing off some of their top wines, and the Hunting Lodge will be pitting the grape against the grain.
The day is yours to do what you want with - plan a stop at one of the wineries for lunch, or detour to one of West Auckland’s many eateries. You could even detour out to Muriwai to eat some fish and chips on the beach before resuming your journey.
We know that wine tasting in a spread-out area like Kumeu can be a bit tricky, though, so if you’ve got a designated driver, we’ve got special sober driver tickets that will let them enjoy the day along with you with all the same stories and snacks - just sans wine. If nobody is willing to volunteer for this position, however, we’ve also arranged a bus option.
In the City
Of course, there’s still plenty of Auckland wine to enjoy without having to leave the city. As part of Auckland Wine Week, we’re hosting dinners and tastings in central Auckland, so you can experience the best of the region without getting the gumboots out.
On Wednesday 19 June at Augustus Bistro in Ponsonby, we’ll be meeting Patrick Newton, the winemaker at Mudbrick. He’ll be guiding you through a four-course degustation with Mudbrick wines, giving you in-depth tasting notes and further food pairing suggestions. We’ll be doing the same with Paul Brajkovich from Kumeu River, who’ll be taking us through his iconic Chardonnays at St Heliers Bistro on Tuesday 18th June.
There’ll also be the chance to taste some rare and very special wines at the Seafarer’s Club on Thursday 20 June. Eight wines from some of Auckland’s best vineyards will be centre stage at this tasting, hosted by wine expert David Nash.
There’s a host of other tasting events across Auckland - look out for some iconic Auckland winemakers in your local Glengarry, and head along to Winetopia to see how Auckland wines stack up against wines from other parts of the country in this national showcase event.
It’s going to be a fantastic week and we are super excited to see you out and about learning more about Auckland wine!