Summer screams a glass of good wine in the afternoon sun. And what better place to do it than in the luxury of a world-famous New Zealand vineyard. We're lucky enough to home more than 500 vineyards in our little country, it's quite safe to say we know our stuff. While we all know the run-of-the-mill tourist-hotspot vineyards, or have the same favourite go-to's, why not branch out and try somewhere new this summer. Here are our top 5 vineyards we'd highly suggest visiting this sunny season!
Starting the list off with one of the country's most beloved and visited vineyards. Mudbrick on Waiheke is stunningly beautiful with expanding views of the Hauraki Gulf, in an ivy-covered setting. The vineyard is complete with two restaurants, the wine cellar, a lush garden, greenhouse, and helipad. Robyn and Nicholas Jones, who can still be found lending a helping hand in the restaurant, have owned the land since 1992 and built Mudbrick from the ground up–Giving Mudbrick a real homely feeling. The vineyard is the perfect destination for a sunbathe in the gardens, wine tour and lunch, full-day affair, or even a sunset wedding in the summer.
Villa Maria Estate
A little closer to home, Villa Maria is a hidden gem of Mangere. Announced as New Zealand's most awarded vineyard, Villa Maria is a breathtaking five acres of winery magic. Huge lush grass lawns with rows upon rows of grape-bearing vines, and an inviting cellar door. The winery is open seven days a week, with tours and tastings available, as well as a self-guided walking trail around the entire estate, allowing you to take in all the beauty on your own accord. Conclude your visit with a build-your-own platter and a couple of glasses of VM as you watch the sunset soak in the vines.
Welcome to one of Auckland's oldest and most prestigious wineries, Westbrook Vineyard. Specialising in award-winning Rieslings and Chardonnays made from grapes grown in the 20 acred vineyard, Westbrook has the wine-making process down-pat. The scenic Waimauku is a romantic vision of green pastures overlooking the lake. After a tour and tasting, pick your favourite vino and some antipasti before finding your own secluded spot in the beauty of Westbrook. Although a short drive from the city, Westbrook feels like a romantic paradise getaway, where you can forget all your troubles and enjoy being in the company of your nearest and dearest.
Man O'War Winery
A beautiful beachside vineyard is something you may think could only occur in your wildest dreams. Well, may we take the pleasure of introducing you to Man O'War Winery? Sitting pretty on the stunning golden sands and crystal clear waters of the eastern Waiheke–Right where Captain James Cook anchored on his first voyage to Aotearoa. As well as being full of rich history, Man O'War has a real Kiwi feel to it. Take a stroll through the waterfront gardens before a tasting in the colonial cellar. Enjoy the legacy of Man O'War through the heart and soul they put into all their blends.
Frenchman's Hill Estate
To end the summer bucket list– A lesser-known, but equally decadent vineyard. Frenchman's Hill Estate is as authentically similar to a French countryside vineyard as you could really get in Auckland. TheFrenchman in question is Luc Desbonnets, who owns and operates the estate sticking to the protocols and techniques he's picked up on his travels in Bordeaux and Burgundy, France. The vineyard itself is simple but stunning, sitting hilltop with blue waters below. Try some testers before residing to a sun-lounger with a cool glass of your favourite and tasting platter. Don't skip the shop, take home a few bottles of artisan wines and olive oil to enjoy for months to come.