Adventure: Wine Tour on Waiheke Island
Given that the hospitality industry in NZ is full of people who want to make sure you enjoy yourself and feel like you got your money’s worth, it’s safe to ask about options.
Want to know which wine tour is a better choice? They’ll tell you, and they’ll even give you extra pointers, like:
Since the wine tour ticket provides you with free ferry rides and bus access on Waiheke Island all day, you should go over in the morning, play around the island until the tour starts, and you don’t have to leave when it’s over.
Good to know.
A brisk and chilly Saturday morning, Ines and I head out for the wine tour, stopping — of course — for a coffee! Coffees in hand, we jump on a bus to the pier, then a ferry to Waiheke Island. Fortunately, Ines knows her way around the island, so we hop onto a local bus and head out to find some local shops to browse. The. Most. Adorable. Things. A tea set that matches my nesting doll measuring cups, a complete set of Volkswagen styled table accents (salt & pepper shakers, napkin holders, mugs, egg cups, etc.), beautiful Maori-styled jewelry, second hand clothing, handmade tea cozies, and homemade wooden signs with chill-out messages like, “Relax. You’re already here.” With a few souvenirs in-hand, it’s time to head back to the pier and meet up with our tour guide!
Remember how folks in the service industry in NZ really shine at their jobs? Our guide is an excellent example of this: jovial, encouraging, entertaining, punctual, and genuinely concerned with whether or not you’re enjoying yourself. With his headset fired up and the PA system on, we are treated to stories on our way to, at, and leaving each of the three wineries we’re visiting.
Starting with the very first vineyard to set up shop on the island, Mudbrick Winery, we get to tour the vines, learn about the wind-breaking manicured tree lines, and see the restaurant, which was the owners first home on the island. If I were a grape, I’d be happy to be here, too. I’m also convinced that there are no poor views in New Zealand. None.
All of the wines featured on this tour are truly delightful, but the best was definitely saved for last: the one winery whose sustainable process is slow, utilizing gravity and painstaking manual labor to create something beautiful and of the highest quality. Tu Whou (Too-Fow) winery raises the bar (and puts it on a hillside overlooking a cove — see what I did there?).
Instead of using a chemistry set (some of which include cow’s blood) to remove stem and seed tannins, then adding certain chemicals back into the wine in order to correct its flavor and aroma, Tu Whou simply has staff who’s job it is to manually remove the stems and seeds as the grape bits travel through the shoot, leaving you with only the desirable tannins from the skins. Without the shortcuts taken during the preparation of the grapes, chemistry sets are not needed to correct for them later. Zero chemicals are used in the making of this wine (beyond the one required preservative). Simple, beautiful, and definitely work to be proud of.
Where to now?
- Back to EpicTrip: New Zealand!
- Adventure: Riding Ferries
- Adventure: Tongariro Crossing (AKA: Simply Walking into Mordor)
- Adventure: Wine Tour on Waiheke Island
- Adventure: Seafood Cooking School