Visiting the eastern side of New Zealand’s North Island? This guide is a go-to for the best Hawke’s Bay wineries to visit. As one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest and sunniest regions, Hawke’s Bay is suited to growing grapes and crafting premium wine. Probably known best for Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and complex Chardonnays.
Five hours east of Auckland or 4 hours north of Wellington, a trip can easily work into any North Island adventure. In order to carefully plan a Hawke’s Bay visit, here are 5 of the best Hawke’s Bay wineries. These should be included when visiting Napier and the Hastings area.
1. Mission Estate Winery
Without a doubt, Mission Estate needs to be part of any Hawke’s Bay winery experience. As New Zealand’s oldest winery and birthplace of New Zealand wine, its’ iconic in many ways. Mission Estate is known for its restored seminary building which also features of the winery’s label. The picturesque setting of the Taradale Hills, offers the goods in terms of views over the vineyards and coast beyond.
Formal wine tastings in the cellar door are offered daily. It’s highly recommended to plan a visit around lunch. The on-site restaurant offers a fine dining experience showcasing Napier’s local seafood. This can be paired with some of the wineries favourites.
2. Church Road Winery Cellar Door and Restaurant
Church Road is of the oldest wineries in New Zealand with over 120 years in the business. No surprise as it’s located next door to Mission Estate. With extensive wine making experience, Church Road has an impressive selection of wine for tastings in the cellar room.
A winner of many Hawke’s Bay Tourism Awards. Church Road was recognised as ‘cellar door of the year’ in 2017 and ‘winner of experience award’ in 2018.
Tours run daily at 11am and 3pm providing the opportunity to discover the team’s innovation for wine marking or learn about the history of Church Road.
Church Road’s platters and cheese boards are paired perfectly with their wine and a sunny spot in the sunshine.
3. Moana Park Winery
Moana Park is best known on an international scale for its’ organic and plant based wines, specialising in Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnays. This small winery is by no means basic. Moana Park is all quality. Catering to all tastes from the fruity easy-drinking summer favourites to the more full-bodied premium wines.
This winery isn’t one to do things by the book and by no means a traditional winery. The wine makers of Moana Park constantly push the boundaries of tradition in order to deliver outstanding wine.
Moana Park is special for their approach to wine making. Bring a rug and picnic and enjoy their wines overlooking the vineyard.
4. Elephant Hill
Elephant Hill is another of one of the best Hawke’s Bay’s wineries. With a focus on sustainable and environmentally conscious wine making, Elephant Hill blends traditional wine making in a contemporary setting.
From the moment you drive into Elephant Hill, the date palms perfectly frame the entrance, making a statement of grandeur. The Elephant Hill restaurant positioned to take in views of the Pacific Ocean as well views over the vineyards, delivers a truly luxurious experience.
Elephant Hill Lodge provides accommodation onsite overlooking the vineyard that adds to the luxurious winery experience.
Last but certainly not least, Craggy Range was named 11th in the world’s top 50 wineries to visit in 2019. Craggy Range has three vineyards across New Zealand. But it’s their Hawke’s Bay winery located on the coastline at Te Awanga where the climate is ideal for the development of intense Chardonnay flavours.
The Craggy Range restaurant at Hawke’s Bay was awarded two hats at the 2019 Cuisine Good Food Awards. Coupled with award winning wines, Craggy Range is a no-brainer for the list of best Hawke’s Bay wineries.
For more on New Zealand wine, check out the Wineries page.