This is New Zealand at Christmas time. The sun is shining and, if you are lucky Christmas day temperatures can be around C25/6 (F79) and you can enjoy sipping samples on a New Zealand vineyard tour or enjoy your wine in the shade on the deck at home, or at your Air Bnb.
Our selfie is of a visiting friend who is seen tasting wines on a self-guided Haythornthwaite‘s New Zealand Vineyard tour in 2019. He visited from the US before the pandemic madness swept around the world.
You can see bottles in chill buckets and glasses ready for customers to sample with. This vineyard is one we enjoyed visiting before and were able to take a walk through the vines. The winemakers are always welcoming and have a Siamese cat.
New Zealand Vineyard Tips
If you visit you will be asked to pay a modest tasting or sampling fee and this is taken off any purchases you make. Respect their request for a tasting fee, after all, you may not lie the wine and a few dollars is a small price to pay to sample wines grown outside the door you are standing near.
Ask plenty of questions if you like the wines, the owners are usually happy to tell you a little about its history and why they grow certain grapes.
You may need to drive, so have a designated driver and then buy them lunch at the cafe as they won’t be drinking!
Many vineyards allow you to wander around their vines and it is a lot of fun to see the tiny grapes, or the vines after they have been trimmed for the next year’s crop. The vines here were still growing and had wonderful large leaves to protect the grapes from predators (i.e. the birds).
First plantings were in 1992 and just less than 8 acres were planted. The remaining three acres were planted in 2005 and 2006. The first vintage was 1997 with the first wine, a Pinot Noir, released in October 1998Haythornthwaite’s A History
It may be winter here now but posting and sharing this lovely memory with you all brings back the pleasure of the visit.
Have a good week and happy sipping everyone.