A Hawke’s Bay Wine Adventure

A Hawke’s Bay Wine Adventure

Starting out a day of wine tasting with two liters of beer isn’t the worst idea I’ve ever had, but I’ve had a lot of bad ideas.  We hadn’t planned to start with beer, especially two liters, but we needed something to go with our picnic lunch and we couldn’t resist Roosters; a local beer to crow about.

Roosters, local beer to crow about.

Being that we were biking the winery circuit in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand we had a bit of a wobbly finish after the beer and six wineries.  But, I still don’t regret the two liters of beer, in fact it was hard to choose which beer to get.  With six local brews on tap we had to do several tastes to make the right decision.  Buying two liters was  definitely the budget choice at only $7.70 and we were happy to package and label our own beer to pack in our bag for the rest of the ride.

With the beer in our backpack with the sandwiches we headed down the road to Te Awa winery, with rows of green vines and towering windmills.  The small tasting room with adjoining restaurant had glasses waiting for us to sample their latest vintage.  After the tasting we enjoyed a spot at a shady picnic table alongside the vineyards to enjoy more of our beer as the wine didn’t WOW us, but the grounds were gorgeous.

The award winning wines at Trinity Hill were worth the ride.

After our beer break we headed out to Trinity Hill where we enjoyed their award winning wines.  I was particularly impressed with their Viognier, which won a gold medal at the New Zealand International Wine Show.  The crisp, citrusy nose and smooth finish almost made me trade in my beer for a cold bottle of white.  But then I caught a glimpse of their 2009 Homage Syrah, rated 98 and figured I better save my money for a bottle of that.

The small red barn of Salvare winery was the highlight of our wine tasting tour.

Our favorite "wine" of the day was the frappe vino frozen wine cocktail from Salvare.

After enjoying the wine and stories from the winery owner’s son at Trinity Hill we were happy that we didn’t have too far to pedal to Salvare; the highlight of the wine tour.  We parked our bikes next to the rest, wiped the sweat from our brows and headed into the open air barn. We settled into an outdoor table and enjoyed having our wines brought to us, the star of the tasting was a unique frappe vino frozen wine cocktail.  It was just the thing for a hot day of biking when you’ve had a few too many tastes of wine.

The view from the tasting room at Alpha Domus winery.

As cold and thirst quenching as the cocktail was it was still alcoholic making our next few wineries a bit tougher to reach, but don’t worry we made our way to Ngatarawa winery, which had my favorite wine labels, featuring local chefs and farmers along with their stories.  We also stopped at Alpha Domus winery and Abbey winery, definitely the most stunning tasting room.  While I would highly recommend the wineries of Hawke’s Bay, I would suggest starting off with plenty of water instead of two liters of beer to keep you hydrated.

The beautiful tasting room at Abbey winery, the cathedral ceiling made for a dramatic entrance and set the scene for their catholic themed wines.


  1. Don’t miss the art deco city of Napier. While the wineries are  excellent don’t miss neighboring Napier’s art deco buildings and inviting cafes.
  2. Make a trip up TeMata peak.  The views over the Hawke’s Bay region all the way out to the ocean are gorgeous and shouldn’t be missed.
  3. Bike to the wineries.  While an air conditioned car may be more comfortable transport you will miss out on some of the scenery if you are chauffeured around rather than reaching each vineyard from your own pedal power, which is much more rewarding.  Just make sure to bring lots of water.


To see more pictures of the Hawke’s Bay area visit our photo gallery by clicking here.

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» Bka :
May 2, 2012

We must have learned something from you as we finished our Hawkes wine tour with beer, but only 24 ounces each….your mom did 30 plus kilometers on the bike that day, what a trooper!……thinking your down from Everest today, hope so as I am running low on vigil candles…..love dad

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, I think the everything in moderation line is fitting when it comes to wine tours and biking for that matter. Although, I think you would both agree that biking is the way to see the beautiful vineyards of Hawke’s Bay!

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.


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