The complete guide to winery cellar doors in Hawke's Bay
Hawke's Bay is New Zealand's oldest wine region, and has more than 200 vineyards, 100+ wineries and 35+ cellar doors. So the toughest decision you'll have to make is where to start?! Let us be your virtual guide to the range of cellar door experiences on offer.
This is a diverse growing region capable of producing a wide range of varietals; best known for Syrah, Chardonnay and Merlot Cabernet blends. Come and try our wines for yourself and meet the colourful characters that make them in one of the world's great wine regions.
For a more technical overview of our sub-regions, check out the Hawke's Bay Wine website.
Esk Valley / Bayview / Ahuriri
Hawke's Bay's northern most wine region starts on the final stretches of the Napier-Taupo road, where Petane Wines and Linden Estate offer exceptional experiences alongside on-site dining options - Petane wines can be found in the Cone & Flower garden bar (along with the excellent Zeelandt beer range), while Linden's newly developed cellar door is a stone's throw from Valley D'Vine restaurant.
Just on the northern side of Bayview is the unremarkable premises for a truly remarkable winemaker - Kate Radburnd for Radburnd Cellars. Visits are by appointment only, and are seriously worth the effort. On the airport side of Bayview, and it's local favourites Crab Farm Winery holding court. The rustic-inspired cellar door offers delightful tastings, while the restaurant is perfect for group bookings. Pop next door to The Art Shed for creations by local artists
The quaint fishing village of Ahuriri is home to Tony Bish Wines and The Urban Winery - housed in the historic National Tobacco building. Step inside and you'll be immediately taken by the stunning Taransaud French Oak 'Ovum' egg wine barrel.
Taradale & surrounds
If you're looking for vintage Hawke's Bay experiences, they don't come much more 'Hawke's Bay' than Taradale's Mission Estate Winery and Church Road Winery - #1 and #3 respectively on the list of New Zealand's oldest wineries. Absolute-must visits, with great restaurant experiences as well.
Over in Meeanee, Brookfields Winery is a picturesque spot with its beautiful rose garden and hand-made brick winery. Tastings are a pleasure, while it would be rude not to take up a seat in the sun to enjoy a delicious platter.
Further afield and accessible from the Napier-Taihape Road, but absolutely worth the drive are De La Terre and Monowai Estate. De La Terre is an intimate and informative experience, with an onsite cafe offering highly-regarded wood-fired pizzas. Monowai is a bookings-only experience on their grounds in the Crownthorpe wine growing district, catering for groups of 6-12.
Covering 800ha, the internationally-regarded Gimblett Gravels winegrowing district is strictly determined by the gravelly soils laid down by the old Ngaruroro River, which were exposed after a huge flood in the 1860s. Lucky for you there are cellar door options aplenty.
Pask Winery cellar door, on the outskirts of Hastings city, is currently closed for extensive renovations - an opening worth getting excited about! Just a short drive away, leading certified-organic winery Stonecroft Wines - also home to New Zealand's oldest syrah vines - offer tastings of their small-batch wines at their quaint cellar door. Just down the road, Element Wines are the smallest winery in the Gimblett Gravels. You'll need to make an appointment for a tasting, or be part of an organised guided experience.
Unison Vineyard and Trinity Hill Winery round out the Gimblett Gravels cellar doors. Unison sits in roughly the centre of the Gimblett Gravels, and boasts a Mediterranean-styled cellar door for tastings, and suitably named eatery, The Gravels. The impressive Trinity Hill winery at the western edge of the Gimblett Gravels is a favourite for locals and visitors alike, offering platters to complement their exceptional wines. Grab one of each and set yourself up on the lawn under the Hawke's Bay sun for guaranteed bliss.
The Bridge Pa winegrowing district is roughly delineated by three roads: Ngatarawa Road, State Highway 50 and Maraekakaho Road, which form a triangle of sorts - conveniently known as the Bridge Pa Triangle. The wineries come together brilliantly each January for the Bridge Pa Wine Festival - but they are equally excellent any time of the year.
On SH50, Ash Ridge Winery compliments their excellent wines with famous pizzas - and an insta-worthy sign placing them at the centre of the wine world. Just round the corner on Ngatarawa Road, Oak Estate's relaxed vibe, tasty drops and tasty kitchen morsels has won them plenty of friends.
Completing the triangle on Maraekakaho Road are Abbey Estate - as famous for its weekend live music and extensive beer range as for its delicious wine; just a stone's throw along, the distinctive design of Alpha Domus wine bottles match the understated elegance of their cellar door; Sileni Estates' grand premises are home to a newly-renovated cellar door and expansive lawn; while the relatively new Paritua cellar door is a great addition to this famous winegrowing district, complete with courtyard to truly savour your drop.
It's just a further 10min drive to Hawkes Ridge - a small family owned vineyard and olive grove, serving pizzas, platters and cheese plates to complement their wines.
Hastings and Havelock North
In the heart of a revitalised Hastings CBD, Decibel Wines have established an urban cellar door - so your tasting can be the start of something more! A short drive away in Havelock North village, Smith & Sheth's cellar door and wine lounge / Oenothèque is a stylish space to enjoy their stunning wines and bite to eat. For an absolute world-class experience, their adjacent Heretaunga Wine Studio is the ultimate sensory wine journey through many of New Zealand's leading winegrowing regions.
At the far end of the Te Mata Road, three wineries are at contrasting stages of their journey. New kid on the block Village Vineyards is the quintessential family story, recently established by orchardist parents and their three sons. Mere metres along the road is the entrance to Black Barn, with its sprawling property encompassing their cellar door, restaurant (re-opening early 2023 following fire damage), kitchen store, farmers' market, amphitheatre and retreat accommodation. Rounding out the trio is the cellar door for the historic Te Mata Estate, with its 100+ years of winemaking pedigree and world-renowned vintages.
Venture ever slightly further towards the Tukituki River to experience Akarangi Wines - which beautifully translates as 'vines of the heavens' - a small family-run affair, with a 19th century native timber building serving as their cellar door. A short drive will have you arriving at Askerne Winery - Hawke's Bay Cellar Door of the Year for 2021. While the wine is worth the visit alone, their gourmet platters and dessert wine platter are very, very hard to pass up. Rounding out the sub-region is of course Craggy Range - named Australasia's best vineyard in the 2021 World's Best Vineyard awards. The stunning cellar door experience is just the start, with the property also home to New Zealand's best winery restaurant for 2022 and luxury retreat accommodation.
With picture postcard views across to Cape Kidnappers, the Te Awanga winegrowing region is a favourite for locals and visitors alike. The architecturally-stunning Elephant Hill is your first stop, serving beautiful wines from their exquisite cellar door. Your obligatory Insta post is guaranteed to induce jealously from your followers.
In complete contrast, the rustic surrounds of Clearview Estate are home to some of New Zealand's most awarded wines, with a family-friendly restaurant positively humming with the sounds of people enjoying superb wine, food and company. No trip to this part of the region is complete without a visit to Te Awanga Estate, the perfect location to soak up the sun while enjoying seriously good wine and reliably tasty pizzas.
Central Hawke's Bay
Inland and at altitudes of up to 300m, Central Hawke's Bay vineyards produce some of the region's finest examples of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Junction Wines takes it name from its location at the junction of State Highways 2 & 50, and is Hawke's Bay's southernmost cellar door stop. The winery is owned by former All Black John Ashworth and family, with the cellar door located inside the home of John and Jo.
Ways to experience our wineries
We advise planning your journey, rather than winging it. Ring ahead to confirm opening hours, and to make any necessary cellar door and/or restaurant bookings.
Focus your efforts on one or two sub-regions and discover more of what they have to offer. You'll spend less time travelling, and more time developing a deeper understanding of what makes each sub-region shine. More reasons to come back as well, right?!
You're in good hands with Hawke's Bay's tour providers. A great way to get insightful commentary, and even special access to wineries who are closed to the public. Plus, there's no need to worry about who will be the sober driver, which means everyone can enjoy a taste or two of Food and Wine Country.
The Hawke's Bay Trails connect cyclists to wineries better than perhaps anywhere else in the country. So grab yourself a bike from one of the friendly cycle hire operators and hit the trails. You're bound to spend more time at wineries than you plan on, and the riding invariably gets a bit more tiring the longer you go. So, top tip, stick to 3 or so wineries and you'll more than have your fill!