The Hawkes Bay region includes the hilly coastal land around the northern and central bay, and floodplains of the Wairoa River in the north. The wide fertile Heretaunga Plains are around Hastings in the south and a hilly interior stretches up into the Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges. It is recognised on the world stage for its award-winning wines.
Hawkes Bay is jam-packed with taste sensations and is New Zealand's oldest wine growing region. It has more than 40 vineyards to visit, each offering wines to taste at the cellar door.
To save you having to nominate a designated driver, On Yer Bike Winery Tours allows everyone to enjoy the vineyards. Julie and Mike Russell began New Zealand's first bike-winery tours eight years ago. They are very connected to the area and produce organic apples, plums and olives, as well as guiding tour groups.
They have single mountain bikes, tandems and rickshaws, and they supply safety helmets, baskets or backpacks and visibility flags. Most riding is done along quiet, sealed roads, and there are options for off-road cycling through vineyards.
First stop is Ngatarawa Winery. It is housed within century-old racing stables and is one of New Zealand's earliest boutique wineries. The Corban family who opened it in 1981 has been making wine in New Zealand since 1901. It is a very attractive vineyard with a long driveway and its vast lily pond adds to the beauty.
Ngatarawa is best known for its sweet dessert wines, but are also recognised as a quality maker of chardonnay and Bordeaux reds. Their horse's head logo is in recognition of the property's equine heritage.
Trinity Hill Winery produces wines not usually seen in the area. The prolific winery produces 16 wines. As well as ports, their flagship wine is the award-winning Homage Syrah. They also make arneis, viognier, pinot gris, pinot noir, Montepulciano, tempranillo and touriga nacional as well as the more common varietals, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc.
As this is the second of the vineyards in the triangle, it's a great place to enjoy your packed gourmet lunch. From the top of the hill there are 360-degree views across Hawkes Bay and the ocean.
Sileni is the largest winery in the Hawkes Bay region. It is named after the Sileni who featured in Roman mythology alongside Bacchus, the god of wine. They celebrated good wine, good food and good company.
In the main building there is a tasting bar with platters of local cheeses paired with the wines you will be tasting. They also grow olives and produce some marvellous oils.
Sileni is committed to producing European-style ultra-premium quality wines. The state-of-the-art winery crushes 1500 tonnes of grapes each year and produces the area's largest amount of pinot noir. "The Lodge" chardonnay is its most-awarded wine.
Not just a winery, Sileni Estates also has a culinary school, restaurant and gourmet food store. The restaurant overlooks the vineyard and is open for lunch every day.
Hawkes Bay, the eastern side of New Zealand's North Island.
On Yer Bike Winery Tours run three- to seven-hour tours and start at around $40. A 21-speed bicycle or tandem bicycle, helmet, map, water bottle and packed lunch are included. A backup vehicle is provided if you run out of puff, as well as collecting any wines you may have purchased. They run between 10am-5pm in summer and 11am-4pm in winter, weather dependent.
For further information
On Yer Bike Winery Tours
121 Rosser Road
RD 4, Hastings
Ph: +64 6 879 8735
Fax: +64 6 879 4455
305 Ngatarawa Road
RD5, Bridge Pa
Ph: +64 6 879 7603
Trinity Hill Winery
2396 State Highway 50
RD 5, Hastings
Ph: +64 6 879 7778
Fax: +64 6 879 7770
Sileni Estates Winery
2016 Maraekakaho Road
RD 1, Hastings
Ph: +64 6 879 8768
Fax: +64 6 879 7187
Classic New Zealand Wine Trail
Ph: +64 21 749 368
103 Greenhill Road
Ph: +64 6 879 9944
Fax: +64 6 879 9940
Ph: 1300 131 390
Ph: 1300 WESTERN
Tourism New Zealand
Air New Zealand
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