Wine Regions of Northland
Wander along the forty hectare vineyard, the vines sloping down the northern slopes of Toupiroroa range; situated on the Karikari Peninsula in Kaitaia. The giant octopus resides at the end of Karikari beach, guarding the entrance to the harbour, dominating the landscape. Just ten years old, they started out with eight trail varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec Voignier, Sémillon and Grenache on just 4.5 hectares.
Now you can drift through the rows and rows of vines, sectioned throughout the winding man-made pavings, surrounded by lush hills.
Recline back on the deck chairs, sipping wine while the never-ending vines stretch out in front of you; the aroma of sweet grapes linger, vines extending outward to the aqua sky, casting hues upon the expansive sea views.
Enjoy a glass with beef pie on the terrace, the pacific vista at your fingertips. A row of palm trees creates the feeling of entering into a European vineyard.
New Zealand’s most northerly vineyard, overlooking Great Exhibition Bay. As the wines tickle your taste buds, you get the sense of being right in the middle of it all. Surrounded by the white sands of Parengarenga, Houbora Harbour and Mt Carmel; stretching beyond to the cape, 500 hectares of wetlands allowing glimpses of activity.
Subtle aromas of plum, cedarwood and boysenberry jam of the Pinotage 2007 lingers on your tongue, or their Toa 2007 of aromatic notes of red liquorice and dark berries.
Sample the Calypso Sauvignon Blanc 10, bursting aromas of gooseberry and passion fruit, cool and crisp on your palate.
Enjoy a stay and a round of golf, savouring the light aromatic wines they produce.
The sun shining down on the citrus-covered of Northland in Kerikeri. Vines surrounding the villa-type estate, ponds sprinkled throughout; duck’s quaking, echoing across the stillness of the water. Amidst olive groves and orange orchards blazing with green, black and orange, broadening across the countryside.
Munch on crusty breads, succulent seafood, cheesy soufflés and a variety of ethnic cuisines matched with their wine in the restaurant.
Linger on the view of the the lily pond, extending out to the vineyard, the lush green slopes mingling with the soft purity of the sky above.
In summer, dine on the wide terrace, grape vines creating a canopy of soft curtains. In winter, an indoor open room heated by a cosy open fire.
Ten acres of vines stretching out across the landscape; Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chambourcin.
Small vineyards surround Marsden, complimenting their range with Syrah and Cabernet Franc.
The park-like terrain of flower gardens bordering ponds; palm trees creating shade.
Envelop your senses with pear aromatics from their Pinot Gris; or savour the deep crimson, medium bodied Chambourcin, the only one produced in New Zealand. Unlike other red wines, Chambourcin is usually served with chocolate, as the flavours marry together perfectly.
Situated in the sea-faring town of Russell, in the picturesque Bay of Islands. Starting from humble roots, Captain John Wright purchased if from the Maori, passing hands in 1883 to the Deeming Family. In 1994 is was established as Omata Estate, gifted to the Russell Township.
The sixty acre estate sits in the sun-kissed radiance of a private bay, the vineyard bordering the estate, almost guarding the treasures within.
Overlooking the Bay of Islands, sun illuminating the vines, soft gentle Pacific breeze wafts through the trees.
Stroll through the vineyard, listening to the guide telling you about each wine.
The estate creates an almost surreal haven, surrounded by forest. Kiwis calling out at dusk, fantails and kingfishers flittering on the ground, scavenging for insects. Red flashes by, catching a glimpse of the Red crowned parakeet, herons flying out to sea. Pukeho hobbling along the ground. Tuis resting on branches, cute finches flitter from branch to branch; ring neck pheasants and Californian quail peek out from their hidey-hole.
Harrier Hawk pierce the sky, herringulls call out, paradise shell ducks come-a-visiting.
After communing with nature, journey once again, meandering through the vines growing on clay slopes, within walking distance of the ocean.
Rest a spell in the restaurant, the aroma of fresh produce lingering in the air. Crunch into mixed breads, allow local cheeses to melt in your mouth; salmon, beef and Italian style meat platters or cheese platters enhances the taste of the wine.
While standing in the shade of the bar, polished glasses beckon. Smell, swirl and sip a Chardonnay, the aroma of ripe stone fruits mingle with grilled nuts.
Or sample the Late Harvest Chardonnay, the hint of fig, the taste of honey lingering on your palate.
Try the delicate Merlot, light notes of strawberry and raspberry.
But you cannot leave Omata Estate without trying what they are known for and awarded for – their Syrah. Soft and supple, hints of red currant running through it. Definitely a keeper.
Even though Northland is one of the smallest wine producers in New Zealand, it produces some outstanding, deeply flavoured wines that benefit from the coastal sun’s rays.
Karikari Estate, Accessed 04/09/11, www.karikariestate.co.nz
Marsden Estate, Accessed 04/09/11, www.marsdenestate.co.nz
Omata Estate, Accessed 04/09/11, www.omataestate.co.nz