Waiheke Island & Auckland
Wine Tours and Food Tours
TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 5-Star
SEVEN years running
Highly Recommended –
Fodors, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides
NINE GREAT REASONS TO CHOOSE
Phil Parker’s AUCKLAND WINE & FOOD TOURS
1. TripAdvisor – Auckland # 3 ‘Food & Drink’
Delivering Excellence in Wine Tours for 16 Years
2. Boutique Tours at regular prices
from $NZD 199 ($USD 142 approx.)
Normally no more than 4 to 6 tour guests
3. Your Host, Auckland wine writer
and tour guide – Phil Parker
TripAdvisor review ” This was one of the most fun and professional tours we have been on. We didn’t feel rushed at any of the wineries. Phil is fun and interesting. Highly recommended. “
Jason – Corona Calif. USA
4. Tour mascot – Mr. Merlot !
( Meet ‘n’ Greet on request! )
Medium bodied red with distinctive nose and good legs !
And … Miss Clara – Home Office Support. 4 Months old.
5. ‘ Best VIP WAIHEKE ISLAND Tours ‘
TV5 Canada doco
Auckland’s only fully escorted Waiheke Tours
6. FREE pickup – your hotel or cruise ship
AND … UNLIKE MOST TOURS – LUNCH WITH WINE – INCLUDED
airport drop-off on enquiry
7. You pay NOTHING extra
Tasting fees and Local Tax 15% – included
8. And Up to 100% money back if not satisfied. Guaranteed.
9. Phil’s Blog – NZWineblogger
Wine Tour Choices – please Scroll Down …
WINE TASTING TOURS in AUCKLAND’S WINE REGIONS
Historic Kumeu region
Located 25 minutes’ drive from downtown Auckland. Croatian immigrants began making wine here in the early 20th century and now Auckland has become huge part of the wine scene in New Zealand. This region takes in Kumeu, Huapai and Waimauku, and is easily reached from Auckland city, down State Highway 16. Once at the end of the motorway it’s instant countryside with vineyards, pastureland and spectacular coastline. Enjoy an Auckland wine tasting experience in historic Kumeu.
Back in 1978 Kim and Jeanette Goldwater had the vision to establish the island’s very first vineyard. Waiheke is a now premium, million-dollar-plus real estate zone, and one of the trendiest boutique wine regions in New Zealand. A tourist Mecca in summer, Waiheke’s wine, food and stunning Hauraki Gulf views draws both local and international visitors. Enjoy an Auckland wine tasting experience in boutique Waiheke wine region.
North Auckland is an up-and-coming young boutique region with most wineries established less than 15 years. 50-minute drive from Auckland city, Matakana’s sunny north-facing hillsides produce ripe red wines from varieties such as Syrah, Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Pinotage. Most wineries have food available, and the whole area has many upmarket B&Bs, cafes, and restaurants, plus a honey centre, chocolate boutique and Morris and James Ceramics. Enjoy an Auckland wine tasting experience in boutique Matakana region.
Phil Parker – the Recommended Expert Guide for small, personalised boutique Auckland wine tours and shore excursions in New Zealand – with extensive local knowledge and personal contacts throughout Auckland’s wine regions – Waiheke Island wine tours, Kumeu wine tours and Matakana wine tours. Wine tours Auckland Kumeu. Wine tours Auckland Matakana. Wine tours Auckland Waiheke.
Kumeu Auckland Winery Tours and private wine tours: Kumeu River, Soljans, Cooper’s Creek, West Brook, Hunting Lodge
Waiheke Auckland Winery Tours and private wine tours: Peacock Sky Cable Bay, Stonyridge, Kennedy Point, Mud Brick, Obsidian, Te Motu, Goldie
Matakana Auckland Winery Tours and private wine tours : Ascension, Heron’s Flight, Brick Bay, Runner Duck, Omaha Bay, Ransom.
Shore Excursion Tours and private wine tours, with Cruise ship pickup and return. Private tours by arrangement.
VOLCANO, BLACK SAND & COUNTRY MARKET
Volcanic Cone walk … 3 Winery Visits … Vineyard Lunch … Black Sand Beach … Ice Cream tasting … Craft Beer option … Cheese Board
A truly unique NZ experience. ‘Insider’s’ tour of Auckland City. Three Award-winning Wineries. Cheese & Crackers. Tawny Port Sampling. Vineyard Restaurant Lunch with glass of wine, plus tea/coffee. Volcanic ‘black sand’ surf beach sight-seeing. Boric Orchard Markets fine food store. Read More…
WAIHEKE ISLAND PARADISE V.I.P.
Ferry Tickets … 3 Winery Visits … 5 Star Vineyard Lunch … Degustation wine tasting … Stunning Harbour Scenery … Goodies Bag … Info pack
Prepare to be spoiled. Waiheke ‘No 5 Island Destination in the World’ by Lonely Planet. Auckland’s Only Fully Hosted Waiheke tour package. Three Winery Tasting visits. 5-Star ‘fine dining’ lunch – including complimentary glass of wine or beer, plus tea or coffee. Chef’s food and wine pairing. Auckland’s Treasure Island of wine will enchant you. Read More…
Four and half hour tour. Short tour with a flexible start. Hearty Rural Orchard Cafe lunch. Complimentary glass of wine or beer, tea or coffee. Three Winery tasting visits, plus Tawny Port Sampling.‘Black Sand’ surf beach. Read More…
SCENIC COAST FINE WINE & CHEESE
Premium NZ Cheese Board … 3 Winery Visits … Cafe Lunch … Black Sand Beach
Half Day West Auckland wine tasting tour. Selected fine NZ three-cheese Cheese board. Rural Orchard Cafe lunch. Complimentary glass of wine or beer, tea or coffee. Three winery tasting visits plus a Tawny Port Sampling . ‘Black Sand’ surf beach. Read More…
AUCKLAND on a PLATE FAB FOODIE !
Premium Cheese Board … Chocolates … Spicy Treats … Fine Food Browsing … Vineyard Restaurant Lunch … Ice Cream sampling … Manuka Honey … Goodies Bag
A full day – mouth-watering, tastebud tour of discovery from Town to Country – sampling Auckland’s finest local foods! From Cafe goodies coffee and freshly squeezed juice, to spicy Indian pastries, native Manuka Honey, hand-made chocolates, fine imported Deli foods, and local artisan cheeses, plus boutique ice cream treat sampling … Read More…
THE ULTIMATE RED WINE ROAD TRIP
Boutique Matakana wine region with stunning red wines … Carmenere, Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Montepulciano, Tannat, Syrah, Petit Verdot and more. Restaurant Lunch & Chocolate shop.
One of NZ’s best kept wine secrets – Matakana region. Ripe and complex red wines grown on the sunny clay soil vineyards of north Auckland. Three to four boutique award-winning wineries, plus Vineyard Lunch and a Chocolate specialty shop in green rural north Auckland. Read More…
Phil Parker’s Fine Wine Tours Auckland is the natural choice for personal and private Auckland wine tasting tours – Waiheke Island Auckland wine tours, Matakana Auckland wine tours and Kumeu Auckland Wine tours. Also Auckland group wine tours plus Auckland ‘foodie tours’ – Auckland food &wine tours. Private Auckland wine tours also available. Plus larger group wine tours to Auckland’s winery regions. Cruise Ship Shore Excursion specialist for small groups.
Freephone: (within NZ) 0800 023 111
Text and Mobile:
International +64 21 626 529
Local NZ 021 626 529
Landline: Home Office – when I’m there ! +64 9 8456 971
New Zealand’s wine history
The far North and west Auckland are where some of the first wines were made in New Zealand.
In 1819 Anglican missionary the Reverend Samuel Marsden planted the very first vines in the rich soils of Kerikeri and in the late 1830s Official British Resident James Busby produced the first recorded example of wine made here. It was a sparkling white wine and judged ‘very drinkable’ by a passing French official.
Then, from the turn of the 19th Century, a trickle of immigrants from what was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire (now Croatia) began to arrive here, in search of a better life – an escape from poverty and political instability in Europe. Into the 1920s and 1930s more and more arrived from the Adriatic coastal region of Dalmatia. They worked very hard – literally scratching a living, digging up buried kauri tree ‘gum’ resin from ancient forests north of Auckland. And it was very hard work. Iron spears blindly located the buried treasure, and then it was manually dug out of the heavy yellow clay. At the time, there was a thriving trade in kauri gum for making varnishes and glues.
These Croatian labourers saved up enough money to buy land. Some of them settled in the far north around Dargaville, Whangarei and Kaitaia, and a few intermarried with local Ngapuhi tribal Māori. The majority settled in northwest Auckland’s Oratia, Henderson Valley and Kumeu regions, where they grew fruit and vegetables alongside their family vineyards, growing grapes to make their own wine for daily consumption, as they had done in the old country.
These were the humble beginnings of some of our prominent wine labels: Kumeu River, Babich, Nobilo and Oyster Bay. Around the same time, some renowned smaller Auckland labels were making a start, for example West Brook, Soljans, Mazurans, Collards, Corbans and Selaks. 1961 was a particularly good year for our wine industry – George Fistonich started Villa Maria wines in Mangere, the same year that Frank and Maté Yukich began Montana (now Brancott) in Titirangi.
Today, the Big Four – Montana, Nobilo, Matua and Villa Maria – are all Auckland-based and export large volumes of our wine overseas, through the port of Auckland to the thirsty markets of Australia, the Pacific, North America and the United Kingdom.
Aside from small attempts at grape growing by French settlers in Akaroa and German settlers in Motueka, Hawke’s Bay represents the other major component in our wine history. Thanks to the Catholic Church’s Marist order of priests, the Mission vineyard was primarily established to produce sacramental wines for use in the Catholic Mass. And Mission Estate was one of our earliest commercial vineyards, with its first sales in 1895. Hawke’s Bay has declined somewhat in terms of production, but is still one of the premium red-wine regions – particularly the branded Gimblett Gravels region.
Into the 1950s and into the 1960s there was still very little demand for table wines. The majority of wines sold in those days were Ports and Sherries – sweet wines fortified with grape spirit. Beer had been the national beverage for decades. But slowly, over the years, and into the 1970s, the NZ palate became a bit more sophisticated.
Wine producers rose to the challenge and produced easy-drinking sweet unsophisticated wines like ‘Sauternes’ and ‘Rhine Rieslings’ from bulk-produced, high-cropping white grapes. In the mid-1970s, the notorious sparkling sweet red wine from Montana Cold Duck was seen as a very classy wine. Over the next 10 years, easy-drinking sweet-to-medium white wines like Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Muller-Thürgau dominated the market. God-awful bag-in-box wines were very popular, some not even technically wine. I recall a brand named Brother Dominic ‘White’ which was allegedly largely made from ethyl alcohol, flavourings and chemicals. Some of my worst hangovers and more regrettable incidents in the late 1970s are related to this beverage.
By the mid 1980s, because of over-planting, the government actually paid growers to pull out these vines, in the hope that they would return vineyards to pasture land. In the event they did rip out the old ones, but canny growers replaced inferior vines with improved varietal clones of the classical European grape varieties we see now.
By happy coincidence, having been established for around 10 years, and begun by Montana Wines, Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc output was gaining international acclaim. Planting Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot and many other classic grape varieties was encouraged.
The industry has since then grown exponentially, with what seems every part of the country from north to south exploring grape growing. Wine is now second only to agriculture as our largest export product, with Sauvignon Blanc still leading, but our Pinot Noir gaining more recognition to the extent that it is our second-largest grape variety.
Phil Parker is a wine writer and wine tour operator, based in Auckland New Zealand.
Regular and private wine tours available.