Vines at Hawkes Bay New Zealand © Steve Fleming

Hawke’s Bay Wine Trails

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You’ll be hard pressed, to slip in a viticultural pun, to find a vineyard that is anything other than an aesthetic delight. They just don’t make ugly wineries!

Especially in the Hawke’s Bay, where wineries seem to loom up at every beautiful turn: glimpsed behind ancient stone gateposts, like Sacred Hill, far up the Dartmoor Valley, or boldly front and centre, architecturally announcing their vinous delights, à la Te Mata and Craggy Range. Range there is, for sure, with 70-plus wineries to visit in this seriously sunny region.

While there is an etiquette to these things — don’t spit there, Alfonse! — wine has become very much a celebration for everyone, rather than an obsession of the elite. So, as long as you behave yourself you can have heaps of fun, and likely learn something along the way. If you listen to the various friendly but knowledgeable cellar-door hosty-type people, you’ll be swilling and saying ‘peaches and cream chardonnay characters’ before you know it.

Hawke’s Bay has excelled at ensuring the bulk of its wineries offer multiple reasons to visit — tasting trays, platters of fine local food, live music in the summer and on the weekends, invariably. Some offer barrel-room visits, and many have really explored their quite impressive histories, adding texture and context to that glass of rich, ripe joy nestled in your hand.

The surroundings and the sipping will seduce you into staying — so to maximise your time and effort, a hosted wine tour is often the way to go.

Sit back, relax, and let someone else drive you from magnificent vineyard vista to... well you get the picture. Loads of them actually: your views among the vines will make for some seriously good holiday snappiness. Isn’t it always just a little bit of fun to humblebrag about your travels? Cheers!

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