Wineries in Hawke’s Bay (Napier), New Zealand


At Trinity Hill, following the planting of traditional Bordeaux region varietals, Southern European grape varieties, Syrah and Viognier were also planted (here covered by netting to protect the grapes from hungry, flying birds); Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand


On our second day docked in Napier, New Zealand, we joined a small group for a trip south to Hawke’s Bay, one of the country’s top wine growing regions, especially well known for its Bordeaux-style wines and Syrah (Shiraz).  Our explorations took us to three top wineries in the area – Trinity Hill, Te Awa and Elephant Hill, the latter of which was a grand setting for an al fresco luncheon accompanied by wines from the property.  [For background on Hawke’s Bay and Napier, see our two previous blog posts.]



In 1993 Trinity Hill, founded by John Hancock, became one of the region’s early pioneers, planting grape vines on a barren plot on the former bed of the Ngaruroro River, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand



The tasting room is adjacent to the barrel aging cellar at Trinity Hill, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand


“Homage is Trinity Hill’s Flagship wine. A wonderfully round rich Syrah inspired by the famed Cote Rotie of the Northern Rhone, it has consistently gained more “Parker points” than any other New Zealand Syrah, achieving  92  to 95 in its seven vintages.  First produced in 2002, it has been voted “Best Red Wine in New Zealand” by Cuisine Magazine and taken home the coveted Air New Zealand Awards Double – Best Red Wine and Champion Wine of Show.  Homage pays tribute to one of the Rhone Valley’s most iconic figures,  the late Gerard Jaboulet.  A long-time friend of Robert and Robyn Wilson – his wine dinners at the Bleeding Heart were legendary.  Gerard took John Hancock [founder and proprietor of Trinity Hill] under his wing in 1996 and allowed him to work beside him at the Jaboulet family wine cellars in Tain L’Hermitage throughout that harvest.  Gerard later told the Wilsons that John was the most committed winemaker he had had the pleasure of working with.  He said, with some surprise, that John would stay behind at lunchtime to hose down the cellar.  In those days in the Rhone, lunch was much more important than cellar hygiene.  As a mark of gratitude, Gerard gave Trinity Hill cuttings of Syrah from his famed La Chapelle vineyard, in Hermitage, and Viognier from Les Jumelles in Cote Rotie, and from these our Homage was born.  Like the Cote Rotie of its inspiration, our Homage Syrah is traditionally blended with a small amount of Viognier.  Homage is only produced in the very best years, following the warmest growing seasons, and in very limited quantities.” –



The vineyards of Te Awa, nestled in the heart of the Gimblett Gravels wine growing region of Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand



The grapes at Te Awa were ripening when we visited, about a month or two before the spring 2017 harvest, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand


Testament to the intricacies of the natural elements the Te Awa Single Estate wines are grown on a single site in the sacred Gimblett Gravels, allowing true expression of the classic Hawke’s Bay varieties Chardonnay, Syrah and Bordeaux blends.  “Te Awa o Te Atua, The river of God — a reference to the mysterious subterranean streams over which the vineyards are situated and from which the wines draw their exquisite, yet subtle characteristics.  The quality comes from the free draining soil which consistently produces high quality fruit.   Walking the vineyard at Te Awa Winery you will see the vines planted in alluvial soils, typical of the area.  The single estate is made up of 151 hectares, 100 of which are planted in vines.  Te Awa vineyard soils are the trails of the old Ngaruroro River which meandered through the region until a huge flood changed its course in 1867.” –



The dining room at Te Awa, on the side of the tasting room, viewed from the vineyards, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand



The vineyards at Elephant Hill, with the Te Awanga coast of Hawke’s Bay in the background, viewed from the offices of the winery upstairs, above where we enjoyed a nice al fresco luncheon, Hawke’s Bay, Haumoana, New Zealand


Exploring Hawke’s Bay (Napier), New Zealand


Looking out from the Craggy Range Winery tasting room and Terrôir Restaurant to the spectacular Te Mata Peak in the premium growing area of Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand


Following our art deco walk in Napier, we drove south to the Hawke’s Bay wine region centered around the towns of Hastings and Havelock North – the region lies on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand.



Cattle grazing on the plateau below Te Mata Peak (the mountain gave the winery its name) as seen from the Craggy Range Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand



The vineyards at the Craggy Range Winery are bearing fruit (a month or so before harvest) and the nets are keeping the birds at bay, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; the winery buildings are in the background


“Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions and this has made it one of the country’s leading producers of wine; notably red wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah – but also with some quite stunning whites.  The region is the first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, and it’s a popular place for bicycle wine tours.  Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s Art Deco centre [see our previous blog post on Napier, New Zealand], rebuilt in the 1930’s after a huge earthquake.  It hosts the country’s most elaborate celebrations of Matariki – the Maori New Year.  It’s a place where you can shop at the farmers’ market for locally grown delicacies and indulge in artisan gourmet food…  And it’s a place where you can walk the forest trails of the Ruahine and Kaweka Forest Parks, visit the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony [and world-class golf course] or relax on the glorious beaches that stretch along the coast.” –



The tasting room and offices of the Craggy Range Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; he winery was recognized in 2014 by renowned U.S. publication Wine Enthusiast as ‘New World Winery of the Year’ with many of the wines also receiving notable accolades and awards



We drove up the mountain to get this view of the Craggy Range Winery from the viewpoint on Te Mata Peak, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand



Another winery is visible in the valley from the viewpoint on Te Mata Peak, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand



The tasting room of Te Mata Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; Te Mata Estate was established here in 1896, specializing in high-quality wines of classical style



The vineyards of Te Mata Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; Te Mata Estate is recognized as one of New Zealand’s most prestigious wine producers, making nearly 40,000 cases a year of premium wine and exporting to over 42 countries