On our last morning in Napa, we decided to maximize what little time we had left. So, we left the hotel and went into the town of St. Helena to grab breakfast at Model Bakery and to go exploring.[Read more…] about Model Bakery + Castello di Amorosa
Rippon Vineyard in Wanaka, New Zealand is the “most photographed vineyard in the world” according to locals.
It’s not hard to see why everyone takes this photo (or a similar photo) when visiting.
Close to Queenstown and the more well-known Gibbston Valley is Wanaka.
For the more active or travelers, you can enjoy a scenic walk to the winery on a path beside the lake. The lake path is less direct and takes about an hour to walk (but depends on where you are starting in town). Consider renting a bike while you are in the area.
The tasting room is situated on top of a hill that overlooks the vineyards and Lake Wanaka.
The building is new but simple. The straight-forward modern style building does not distract you from the scenery.
You do not need an extravagant building when you have these views.
Rippon Vineyard is located in the Central Otego wine region.
Central Otego is known for its Pinot Noirs. If you need a break from the pinots, the region also produces delicious pinot gris, riesling, chardonnay, shiraz and dessert and sparkling wines.
Recommendations & Tips
Many of you may be familiar with New Zealand’s well-known wine region, Hawks Bay. Located on the east coast of the North Island, Hawks Bay is home to over 75 wineries. Choosing one winery to visit can be difficult. Our lack of planning limited our choices to walk in cellar shops (what we call a bar tasting in the US).
Esk Valley Winery
We chose to stop at Esk Valley Winery. Why? 1. We could walk-in, and 2. someone in town recommended it to us.
Their cellar shop is an unassuming building surrounded by vines.It is the original building from the 1930s and is stuff full of some great vines. Don’t let this unassuming building fool you.
New Zealand and its view do not disappoint. I love the contrast between the spring green hills and the water of the bay.
The tasting bar focuses solely on the wine. This is no show, no frills, no production wine tasting. Just a great group of people that want to tell you about their wines, and better yet let the wines speak for themselves.
Hawkes Bay climate showcases bigger reds and bigger more complex white wines. Varietals that grown in the region are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Chardonnay, Verdelho and Pinot Gris. However, we learned that Esk Valley Winery also sources grapes from the Marlborough, which how they are able to make their Sauvignon Blanc.
On your visit, you can happily taste every wine they have to offer. If we tasted all of them, then I think we would have driven the campervan off a cliff.
The Esk Valley Winery is a great stop for a beginner or the connoisseur. The laid-back feel of the Winery will put anyone at ease who is just starting to learn about wines. The quality of the wines should impress those that know a thing or two about wine.
The history and the beautiful coastline is just a bonus.
If you are in the area, then you should pop in for a taste and leave with a case.
Jeffsetters are back and bringing you another winery – Mudbrick Vineyard on Waiheke Island.
A little further down the road and opposite of Cable Bay, you see Mudbrick Winery complete with charm.
Mudbrick Vineyard nestled on a rolling hill is surrounded by gorgeous gardens soon to be full of veggies, rows of lavender and vines, of course.
Past the gardens up the hill, you can find the Mudbrick Vineyard farmlands, complete with a small orchard, horses, and sheep.
From the top of the property, you have a fantastic 360-degree view. You can even see downtown Ackland on a clear day.
After a nice walk around the property, we are parched and ready to taste some wine. The Cellar and Restaurant are located in the large brick house (aka Mudbrick).
Tastings at the Cellar Door
You have an option of two tastings, a standard or premium, consisting of four wines. The tasting is a perfect example of Waiheke Island wine of mostly red varietals; Syrah, Bordeaux-style blends, Cabernet Sauvignon. They also grow Chardonnay, Viognier, and a Pinot Gris.
The Chardonnay is rich and heavy on the butter, a bit too much for me. I tend to prefer a no to light oaked Chardonnay. Mr. J loves this style of Chardonnay and really enjoy the Mudbrick Reserve Chardonnay on his premium tasting.
My favorite white was the Viognier. I loved the fresh floral fruits and the crispness of this wine.
I would love to come back to Mudbrick and try the restaurant, or even stay at one of their cottages throughout the island.
The wines are done very nicely and provide a great example of varietals and style of wine on Waiheke Island.
It is well worth your time to grab a glass of your favorite wine and stroll the property. Be sure to walk to the top, and enjoy those panoramic views of the island and Aukland. At the very least grab a seat in the lavender fields and take in the sights, smells and tastes of the beautiful vineyard.
Be sure to check out the other wineries we visited on Waiheke Island.
The Jeffsetters are back to talk a little bit about our best souvenir of 2018, bottling wine in Slovenia.
Well, Mr. J just wrapped up his spring European speaking tour. This year, we stopped in Slovenia and Germany (Munich).
While we were in Slovenia, we had a couple of extra days to do a wine tasting in the Slovene Riviera and explore Lake Bled courtesy of Mr. J’s amazing conference hosts.
Here are a few snapshots from our trip while we wait for Mr. J to process photos.
However, the big souvenir from our trip was a particular bottle of wine. Now, if you have read some of out other wine posts, then you know we offer our opinions on the wine we taste.
This particular bottle of wine doesn’t have rich fruits or smooth finish; the tannins aren’t particularly heavy and there are no notes of forest fruit and leather. Basically, all I have to say about the wine is that… it’s red and we will probably never drink it.
What made this bottle of wine so special?
Mr. bottled it himself with a local “monk.” (I use quotes because I don’t think the guy was a real monk. Rather, he told us about the history of wine in Slovenia, and how the monks made wine in the area.) I thought this was a fun and interactive way to learn more about the history of wine and some of the traditional processing of wine in the region.
If you are ever in Lake Bled at the Castle, then be sure to stop in the wine cellar to learn more about the history of wine in Slovenia.
While Mr. J was speaking at the conference in Munich, I put together this little video of Mr. J bottling wine.
Caveat: I took this video with the iPhone and made the video with iMovie on my phone while sitting at the conference waiting for Mr. J so we could go have some beers (we were in Munich after all). Oh, and I think I am hilarious.
Expert Tip: If you aren’t planning on drinking the wine, then bottle white wine instead of red wine. It is more cost-effective. ;)
Today we take a journey back to Waiheke Island and a visit to Te Motu Vineyards. This small island full of wine off the coast of Aukland is nothing short of stunning.
On our short weekend stay, we enjoyed a great wine tasting and lunch at Te Motu Vineyards.
Te Motu Vineyards
Like many of the wineries on Waiheke Island, Te Motu is gorgeous, green rolling hills covered in vines. Dirt paths line the vineyards where you can enjoy an afternoon stroll in the sunshine with a crisp breeze light with the fragrance of the sea.
It was a beautiful spring day on Waiheke Island. The vines were bare but still beautiful.
Centrally located close to a few other wineries.
You can grab the bus to Onetangi from the ferry at Matiatia Wharf. The bus stops right next to Te Motu. From the stop, it is just a 15-minute walk to the tasting room.
Note: The walk is uphill, but not a steep climb.
Te Motu grows its grapes along the Dunleavy range on Waiheke Island. Grape varietals range from Sauvignon Blanc to Syrah. However, the Vineyard and winemakers focus on Bourdeaux style wines.
Pricing varies, but bottles start at $25NZD with their reserve and library wines reaching $125NZD.
Te Motu offers a small indoor tasting bar.
However, the main feature is their picnic style deck where you can enjoy your tasting, the sunshine, and the views.
Their Herratige tasting flight for $20 NZD (2018) provides a great sample of their varietal range. With this tasting, you enjoy 5 wines including at least one of their library wines.
My favorite was “the Strip,” a single vineyard Cabernet-Merlot blend. I even purchased a bottle of the 2013 vintage. We just drank the bottle this spring with a fantastic lamb stew (a recipe I learned in New Zealand). A great pairing with a great berry-rich wine. However, I think it could have kept for another 3-5 years.
Note: You can also purchase wine by the glass and enjoy some snacks from the Celler Door Menu. The snacks are mostly cheese and meats, a light fare that pairs beautifully with your tasting.
Restaurant: The Shed
After our tasting, we headed over to the Shed for lunch. The Shed is the on-site restaurant serving great farm to table dishes in a rustic setting.
Reservations are recommended especially in peak season. We put our name on the list for a table and then went to enjoy a tasting while we waited for a table.
The menu has a la carte or Prix fix options.
We chose to share some a la carte options to enjoy. I can never pass up chicken liver parfait aka meat butter. We also enjoyed the fish with some smashed potatoes. The freshly caught fish was cooked perfectly. We ended our lunch with the cheese plate. You can never go wrong with New Zealand cheese and Te Motu wine. And yes, I had red wine with my fish. I just really loved the Strip, so I had to go with a glass of it.
Everything was delicious and the service was fantastic. The stand out was the smashed potatoes which were smoke over old grape vines. Very unique!
I also liked that we did a tasting first, so we had a better understanding of their wines.
All in all a perfect afternoon.
Te Motu Vineyards is a delightful spot for lunch or dinners. The central location makes Te Motu an easy stop on your wine route.
The wine itself is refined showing its old world Bordeaux style but has that new world flavor of rich fruit notes.
If you love reds and Bordeaux blends, then give Te Motu a try. You won’t be disappointed.