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Top Wineries for Groups in New Zealand
New Zealand’s rolling hills, valleys and mountains create a myriad of climates and amidst this wondrous landscape lie some of the best wine producing regions in the world. Areas such as Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago are familiar to wine connoisseurs, and while New Zealand is particularly famous internationally for their Sauvignon Blanc, other varieties such as Pinot Noir, Riesling, Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are increasingly gaining worldwide recognition.
The boutique nature of New Zealand’s wine industry, the beauty of the regions in which they reside and the quality of their restaurants make a visit to New Zealand’s wineries a wonderful activity to enjoy, and one where the phrase ‘the more the merrier’ is particularly appropriate.
At Rentabus we’ve put together a list of the best wineries for groups to visit in New Zealand. So grab some friends, jump aboard and enjoy some of the best food and wine the country has to offer.
Saint Clair Vineyard Marlborough
The Marlborough Region of New Zealand is world-renowned for the quality and individuality of its wines, and in particular its Sauvignon Blanc. Saint Clair is one of the founding vineyards in the region. Established in 1978, they have a long history of being awarded and celebrated for the quality of their wine making and the character and complexity of their wines.
The Saint Clair Vineyard Kitchen is beautifully situated overlooking the dramatic Richmond Range. With a sun-filled outdoor courtyard and a cosy fireplace inside for when the weather rolls in, it’s a perfect place for you and your friends to enjoy some of the regions signature drop, and of course, the food. For the food at this vineyard is magnificent. Seasonal produce on their ever changing menu represents the best that Marlborough has to offer, from their pan seared scotch fillet with rich beef cheek ragout, to their local platter with Marlborough mussels, locally sourced salmon and a host of other delicacies. The food at Saint Clair is delicious, thoughtful and meticulously prepared.
A visit to Saint Clair is a journey to the classic Marlborough, wines imbued with the regions renowned vibrancy and fresh produce that invites the tastebuds, all set amongst a stunning backdrop. Saint Clair is the perfect place for a group of friends to enjoy the abundance that Marlborough is known for.
Wooing Tree Vineyard Central Otago
Central Otago in the South Island is the world’s most southerly wine region, with weather uniquely suited to producing Pinot Noir in the area’s trademark plum and cherry flavours. The Wooing Tree Vineyard is a must visit with its romantic history, stunning location and award winning red and white wines truly showcasing the best the region has to offer.
The tree from which the vineyard takes its name is a local landmark, a place where locals have long wooed their lovers. Sitting amongst the vines, with the glacial mountains as a backdrop, it cuts a striking figure as the centrepoint of the winery. The cellar door enjoys scenic views of this stunning scene and with a variety of choices including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Rose and Pinot Noir, everyone will be content. What really makes Wooing Tree stand out when looking for the perfect group winery is their generous locally produced, harvest inspired platters, with Gertz Larder pickled onions, locally grown Dunford Grove Olives, award winning Whitestone Cheeses, amongst other sharing delicacies.
If you are in the south end of the South Island, Central Otago is a must visit for wine lovers and tourists alike, and with Wooing Tree’s beautiful location and wonderfully crafted offerings it’s hard to think of a more idyllic afternoon than one spent sharing wines, food and stories amongst the vines.
Framingham Wines Marlborough
With more than 75% of the country’s wine industry located across Marlborough’s valleys and coastline, it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Framingham have long played by their own rules, and while making beautifully unique wine, their individuality and fresh approach has ensured that rather than being lost in the noise, as often as not, they are the ones making it.
Specialising in Riesling, Framingham produces a variety of wines all in small batches which keeps the wines singular and highly sought after. But while the wines are awarded and celebrated worldwide, it is the winery itself that sets Framingham apart. For Framingham’s unique character and penchant to abhor normality shines truest in the culture and personality that defines their image. From the Framingham Underground, where rock bands, photographers and artists are showcased, to the always sold out Framingham Harvest Concert, the winery has established itself not only as a premier producer of wines but a purveyor of cool.
A visit to Framingham is not a visit to a regular winery. While the day may start with a tasting and perhaps some food, there’s every chance you and your friends will be drawn to the underground exhibitions or if you time it right, find yourselves amongst the crowd as a band takes the stage. It’s a lively, cool and individual atmosphere at Framingham Wines and a refreshing take on the vineyard scene.
Elephant Hill Hawke’s Bay
Hawke’s Bay is the North Islands premier winemaking region. With high sunshine hours and low rainfall, it is perfectly suited to growing grapes and crafting premium wine. Elephant Hill, established in 2003, sets itself apart with stunning architecture that complements the rugged natural landscape, a commitment to sustainability in all facets of operation and of course beautifully crafted wine.
As you traverse the Te Awanga coast towards the Elephant Hill winery, the striking nature of the structure and its compatibility both in form and colour to the coastal landscape becomes clear.
Meticulous thought and detail has gone into the formation of the winery, from the pre-aged copper cladding that provides the building’s turquoise palette, to the vineyard’s three mini-climates carefully selected to provide their wines with particular character and complexity, the attention to detail and respect for the geography is laced throughout.
The best way to have the Elephant hill experience is through a tasting. Try four current release wines or a ‘flights and bites’ with matching food direct from the Elephant Hill kitchens. A visit to Elephant Hill is an immersion in the salt sprayed air of the real Hawke’s bay.
Yealands Estate Marlborough
The Awatere Valley is on the coastal side of Marlborough, and with its mineral rich soils and wild coastal winds, it yields unique wines that are recognised worldwide. Yealands Estate is a testament to the harsh and breathtaking conditions of the valley. The Seaview Vineyard is one of the most coastal in the region and the wines they offer are as varied and exciting as the landscape on which they sit.
As you drive through the valley towards the Yealands Estate the landscape is complemented by the winery roof, adorned with more than 1,300 solar panels to capture the abundant Marlborough sunshine. Sustainability has been a centrepoint of the winery since its inception. Through solar power, wind power, burnt vineyard prunings and improved natural ecosystems combined with a range of other mitigation methods, Yealands has managed to become carbon neutral; the only New Zealand winery with the accreditation of Toitū carboNZeroCertTM.
Award winning wines, paired food, the breathtaking coastal views of the Awatere Valley and the knowledge that your groups visit is supporting sustainable business, it’s easy to see why Yealands Estate has made our list of the best wineries for groups to visit in New Zealand.