We don’t know about you, but wine is one of our favourite things. And lucky for us, Hawke’s Bay is known as one of the best wine-making regions in the country, not to mention the world. There’s no shortage of delicious drops in the Bay. In fact, there are 72 (and counting) wineries and most of which are family-owned. So, whether you’re wanting to spend the day drinking with friends or enjoying a beautiful long lunch with family, we’ve narrowed it down for you. These are the 7 best wineries in Hawke’s Bay. We’ll drink to that.
Black Barn Vineyards
If you take your wine and food equally seriously, Black Barn needs to be at the very top of your winery list. Just five minutes from Havelock North Village, the boutique vineyard and bistro offers incredible wine and some of the best food in the region. As a boutique vineyard, most of their premium wines are limited edition and only available through their cellar door, bistro and their luxury retreats (yes, it’s also a beautiful place to stay if you’re visiting). Fruit is selectively picked to ensure optimum quality and ripeness and their artisan winemaking philosophy produces wines of depth and character.
Another quintessential Hawke’s Bay gem, Elephant Hill lives up to its larger-than-life name. Not only is this spectacular winery a sight for sore eyes, it’s got the wine and food to match. Known especially for its handcrafted chardonnay and syrah, Elephant Hill aims to make wines that are balanced and elegant; a true expression of where they come from. The stylish space is perfect for unwinding on a sunny afternoon. The in-house restaurant features the freshest seasonal produce, which is sourced from growers and suppliers who share their passion for excellent and high quality food.
If you’re a sucker for a wine and dine session with a view, Craggy Range is where you need to be. With Te Mata Peak as its backdrop, Craggy Range is home to some of the best wines in the country plus an award-winning restaurant, Craggy Range Restaurant, which serves local produce in the most creative ways. This winery won’t let you forget that you’re in paradise.
The Urban Winery
Ahuriri probably isn’t the first place you’d think of when it comes to Hawke’s Bay wineries, but The Urban Winery is a must-visit. Home to Tony Bish Wines plus a beautiful cellar door and wine bar, The Urban Winery is well-known for its chardonnay. Stop by for a wine tasting (they also sell craft beer by the glass or bottle) paired with one of their delicious platters. On a sunny day, grab a bean bag on the lawn to unwind with friends.
Nestled on the Kidnapper’s Coast, Clearview is an award-winning winery and restaurant that’s been a destination for locals and visitors for almost thirty years. The rustic cellar door has evolved from its origins as a Ford Motors garage in Hastings. With the addition of restored, reclaimed native timber from the long demolished Napier railway sheds, old red bricks and fondly collected memorabilia, its grown into a renowned destination for wine lovers around the globe. Specialising in brunch and lunch, the seasonal menu features inspired and creative dishes using Hawke's Bay seasonal produce.
Mission Estate is a must-visit for all wine-lovers. Established in 1851, it is the country’s oldest winery, but also the birthplace of New Zealand wine. The cellar door is housed in a beautifully restored historic building with sweeping views of the vineyards, coast and beyond. Plan your visit over lunchtime, so you can wine and dine on the sun-drenched outdoor terrace. Mission Estate Restaurant showcases the region’s very best fresh produce to serve contemporary fine dining cuisine.
Te Mata Estate
Established in 1896, Te Mata Estate is still family owned and continues to produce eleven delightful wines made from grapes grown exclusively in the region. Go behind-the-scenes on a tour to see the country’s oldest barrel hall and the stunning Havelock Hills in the heart of the estate. Be sure to try the famous Te Mata Coleraine—it’s praised as one of New Zealand’s finest red wines and collected by wine-enthusiasts worldwide.
Need more recommendations for Hawke's Bay? Check out the best cafés in the region.
Image credit: Craggy Range: Graeme Murray, Black Barn, Urban Winery, Mission Estate