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February 6, 2016 / cmfletcher

Hawke’s Bay Wineries

We are real wine lovers and enjoy visiting wineries. We booked a day tour with Bay Tours and Charters, and had a wonderful time. We started on Te Mata peak, overlooking the Hawke’s Bay region. We didn’t try the hang gliding but went off to small wineries to sample their offerings.

We stopped for a tasting and then lunch at the Mission Estate Winery. This was founded in 1851 by French Marist Fathers who carried vines with them to the missions. (Hooray for Catholic missionaries!) Today the historic seminary building is a center for wine tastings, weddings, and a fine restaurant. The winery is operated as a commercial enterprise, which supports the work of the Marists throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

The afternoon saw us driving around the valley, learning about the soils, and the effects they have on the wine. Our guide Tony, was very well informed about the economics of the agricultural industries in the region and shared his knowledge with us. We saw avocado groves, apple orchards, and a kiwi fruit farm. The final winery was Moana Park Winery, which makes their wines in such a way that they do not use the normal chemicals, but they don’t call themselves organic. They have managed the process so that their wines are all but sulfite-free and delicious at the same time.

26WinebarrelNew Zealand accounts for 1% of the world’s wine production, and consequently is on the bottom of the list for the cork producers in Europe. As a result, they get the corks refused by the French, Germans, Americans and Australians. This is a problem and so most NZ wines are in screw top bottles. Don’t be put off, the wine is fine. The problem we will have is that it doesn’t make it to the US as the producers are smaller wineries. Sigh.

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