Hawke’s Bay is the oldest wine growing region in New Zealand with a history dating back to the first grapes being planted by Marist missionaries in 1851 – long before the area became synonymous with the country’s finest international wine exports.
The early efforts of those winemaking pioneers continue to provide an inspiration for the latest generation of Hawke’s Bay producers, which include recognisable names such as the Mission Estate, Te Mata Estate, Vidal Estate, McDonalds Winery and the Esk Valley Winery. And, with the region now New Zealand’s second largest wine producer accounting for 10% of entire production – Hawkes Bay wine tours have become an integral part of any enotourism experience in the country.
At Wine Paths, we can organise the most exclusive wine tours Hawke’s Bay has to offer, including elaborate tastings at renowned vineyards, luxury stays, fine dining experiences and some unique outdoor activities.Using our local expert, all of our private tours across the Hawkes Bay wine trail can be individually tailored to meet your specific needs, ensuring every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – sampling premium vintages amid serene rural settings.
The region is home to around 72 wineries, including award winning estates such as Sileni, Church Road and the Mission Estate – although most are small, family-owned boutiques that specialise in artisan wines and informal tastings. Most vineyards offering are concentrated around the main towns of Hastings and Napier – with Gimblett Gravels and the Ngatarawa Triangle two of the most famous sub regions.
Hawkes Bay wine tours will introduce you to some sensational Bordeaux style blends, using an increasing percentage of Merlot to create elegant, deep plum flavours, and signature full bodied Chardonnay with excellent fruit intensity. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir are among a wide range of other grapes grown in the region.
Among the wineries that can be visited as part of our exclusive tours is the Church Road estate, which stands on the same site that it was founded in 1897 and still embraces some of those early wine making philosophies alongside more recent innovations.Heavily influenced by French viticulture, the estate uses specially imported French cuves are used to ferment their red wines before being aged in oak barrels. There is also an excellent on-site restaurant serving a la carte lunches with an emphasis on locally sourced artisan produce.
Hawkes Bay wine tours also attract visitors with the promise of almost ever-present sunshine and idyllic settings that showcase the region’s architecture; an earthquake in 1931 saw the main towns rebuilt using the prevalent art deco and Spanish mission styles of the time, which have only grown in charm over the years. And, the area is also a must travel destination for food enthusiasts with a vast array of fine dining restaurants, artisan producers, and a wonderful farmers’ market that brings together the region’s finest fresh local produce every Sunday.
Hawke’s Bay also hosts a twice annual Food and Wine Festival, featuring a series of delectable experiences in stunning locations throughout the region. In the winter, visitors can enjoy roaring fires, warming dishes and full-bodied reds, while the summer incarnation brings alfresco dining, BBQs and crisp white wines.The ideal time to visit Hawke’s Bay is either between January and February, when the annual wine and art deco festivals take place, or from late March to May during harvest time.
If you are interested in Hawkes Bay wine tours, contact Wine Paths for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a bespoke experience.