Mudbrick, Waiheke Island
The Auckland region has produced wine since the mid 1800s and is home to New Zealand’s five largest winemakers. There are now more than 80 vineyards clustered into four major wine-producing areas around Auckland: the west the northwest, Matakana, Clevedon and on Waiheke Island.
Throughout greater Auckland, the considerable variations in soil type and weather conditions are enough to produce vastly different wines across the region. In the past decade Auckland winemakers have capitalised on the unique combinations of climate and geography to enjoy a renaissance in critical acclaim.
New Zealand’s oldest wine growing area, the Henderson Valley, lies to the west of central Auckland. European immigrants planted the first vines at the turn of last century and today many of the founding families continue to run some of Auckland’s most successful wineries near the Waitakere ranges.
Henderson winemakers have been joined by vineyards in Kumeu and Waimauku to the northwest, which produce excellent quality red and white wines in an enviable location next to west coast beaches.
Situated a one-hour drive north of downtown Auckland, the Matakana vineyards are planted on sloping red clay soil and thrive in a warm maritime climate. Lately, the Matakana region has experienced a period of rapid expansion by its boutique vineyards, many of which share a proactive approach to viticulture that defies convention, sparking much interest from within the wine industry. Classic red varieties are specialties.
Clevedon lies one hour south of downtown Auckland and is the latest addition to the Auckland red winemaking tradition with small pockets of vines planted in the rolling grasslands – appealingly nestled amongst farms and polo fields.
With hot, dry summers and stony soils, Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf houses boutique wineries that produce unique, high quality red wines based on cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and cabernet franc grape varieties. A recent addition to the list is chardonnay, which has grown surprisingly well in the micro-climates of many Waiheke vineyards.
Kumeu River Wines
Michael, Paul or Melba Brajkovich
550 State Highway 16, Kumeu
The Brajkovich family has been making wine 20 km north west of Auckland since 1944. The family has successfully weathered the many changes in winemaking styles, cementing their reputation with the much-lauded Kumeu River Chardonnay, now featured amongst the Top 100 annual list of Wine Spectator in America. Michael Brajkovich is a staunch advocate of the screwcap, now used on all Kumeu River wines.
80 Onetangi Rd, Waiheke Island
Stonyridge produces some of New Zealand’s finest red wines, including the flagship “Larose”. The boutique winery has a singular focus on producing the best Bordeaux style red wine in the world. The Larose is described as an “ immensely complex wine of great ripeness”.
Te Whau Vineyard
218 Te Whau Drive, Waiheke Island
Te Whau vineyard was the first vineyard in New Zealand to implement the environmentally sustainable management system of Integrated Winegrape Production (IWP). IWP seeks to protect the vineyard and surrounding ecosystem through the use of minimal impact viticultural techniques. Te Whau vineyard is also home to one of Waiheke Island’s best restaurants, perched high above a steeply sloping vineyard with spectacular views across the Hauraki Gulf to Auckland city. With more than 500 cellared wines, Te Whau houses the most diverse collection of New Zealand wine in the world. The winemaker is also a cooper (barrel maker) – one of only a handful in New Zealand.
Master of Wine: Bob Campbell
Bob Campbell is Auckland’s foremost expert on wine and is one of only 236 people in the world to hold the Master of Wine qualification. Bob is the wine editor of New Zealand’s Cuisine magazine, contributes regularly to numerous wine publications world wide and is in high demand as an after dinner speaker, lecturer and wine competition senior judge.
Tongue Farm Rd, Matakana
Hyperion is named after a mythological Greek sun god. John Crone is ex computer industry, with a BE Chemical and a passion for learning that extends to winemaking – with impressive results. Neither born into a winemaking family, nor accredited in viticulture, John’s approach to winemaking is unorthodox. The winery is located in a converted cowshed with pastoral surrounds.
424 Creightons Road, Clevedon
Vin Alto vineyard and winery were established to produce Italian style wines and liquers. The vineyard has one of the largest collections of cloned Italian grape varieties in the southern hemisphere. Located in the hills of Clevedon it is laid out according to Italian tradition.
Kumeu River WinesStonyridge VineyardTe Whau VineyardMaster of WineHyperion WinesVin Alto