Friday, 8 January 2016

Biking the Haumoana wineries

About 15 minutes out of Napier is the settlement of Haumoana, home to a group of four wineries in a beautiful coastal setting. We hired road bikes from Coastal Wine Cycles. It's not cheap at $40 per person so plan ahead, get there early and make a day of it. The cycling itself is a gentle round trip of 20-25 km, depending on how far you want to ride. We had a beautiful, sunny day with warm breezes and 29°C - weather that is almost unheard of in Wellington so we cycled all the way out to the Cape Kidnappers entrance and back through the township. The first three wineries are just a few kilometres away from picking up the bikes.

Cape Kidnappers
Our first stop was at Clearview Estate, which is technically the third winery along the road but the first to open for the day. Is it too early to taste wine at 10.30 am? We discovered that it's just the right time to get started! We'd already experienced an entertaining wine tasting with owner Tim a few months earlier. This helped put Clearview Estate Winery on our travel list. The setting at Clearview is beautiful and rustic, with a large marquee extending the restaurant.

Morning tea and wine tasting at Clearview Estate Winery
Wine tasting is free and you can choose as many as you'd like to sample. Given the time and that it was our first stop of the day (and also because we'd already sampled a wide range from Clearview previously), we decided to stick to whites and wines we hadn't tried before.

Clearview Estate wine selection
Wine highlights:
And then, partly because of the time (only 11 am) and partly because it was so darn appealing, we had scones with jam and cream for morning tea before heading back up the road to our next winery.

Coffee and scones with jam and cream
After morning tea, we back tracked to the first winery along the road, Beach House Wines. This boutique winery was established at Haumoana 20 years ago and has received numerous accolades over the years. The cellar door is in a picturesque setting with a rustic beach house feel. Wine tasting costs $5 per person and this amount is refunded if you purchase a bottle from the cellar door. Our host was owner and chief wine maker Chris Harrison.

Wine barrels

Wine highlights:
  • 2014 Riesling. Really fruity, sweet and full of flavour. It wasn't until after we'd bought (and consumed) a bottle that we realised it was actually low alcohol!
  • 2015 Rose. Lots of berry flavours: raspberries, cherries and strawberries. Good for summer drinking.
Elephant Hill is the height of luxury at Haumoana. The restaurant is a destination venue for lunch. Wine tasting costs $5 and you can choose any six wines from their sampling list. They were extremely busy with several groups at the cellar door when we arrived and just one host, who was racing between everybody and pouring wine but had no time to talk to anyone about what we were sampling. We came away none the wiser about the winery or its wines but enjoyed the view over its luxurious vineyards.

Elephant Hill wines

Much further along and 500 metres off the road is Rod McDonald Wines. It's a bit more of a trek to get to this winery but the scene once you reach the top of the gravel driveway is serene.
Rod McDonald vineyard with views to the coast

Wine tasting costs $5 and is refunded if you buy a bottle.They do things are little differently at Rod McDonald as they enjoy the luxury of several specialist labels. One Off means they can make single batches of wines depending on what they have planted, allowing room for experimentation and variety. Their other labels represent various vineyard locations.

No wines caught our fancy but we enjoyed the warm hospitality of our hosts before heading back out into the sun for the return ride.


Dorothy said...

Thanks for another great read. You've inspired me to try and visit. Were those wine barrel side tables expensive?

Caffeinated Weka said...

I don't recall what the cost was but they were beautifully made. Perhaps you could contact Beach House and find out?