Hawkes’ Bay is known for a few things. One of them that it is a very good and large wine districs in NZ. It is also known for its artisan and gourmet foods. There are many small producers here and thus many Wine & Food routes. These things attract the people that appreciate the good things in life. So there are also many artists here.
Today we explored the wine part of the area. As I do not drink a lot of simple wine tastign tours are boring to me. However I am a Food technologist and because of that I do have a interest in the processing and wine making. The factory intrigues me. SO is interested in the winetasting and we managed to balance our interests. H
First we went to the wine centre. There we learned about the soil and why it is so good for vineyards and wineries. We learned about the grapevine, how they are grown, and harvested. But they also tell you about the diseases that grapes are susceptible to. The fun part was the aroma rooms. Here you have a library of different flavours, smells and sniffs. Teh good the bad and the ugly ones. There is a guessing game and really it is a lot of fun. Smell is only 30% of the recognition. So it is a very difficult game indeed, but also a lot of fun. This was followed by a small wine tasting for SO. As children are not allowed to do the tasting they changed the concept somewhat. While you are seated in the theatre SO was served the wine. But at the same time you fly over Hawkes Bay in a Tiger Moth (in the movies that is). You are flown form estate to estate and you drink the wine that the wine master tells you about. Those that do not drink watch the movie, listen and are entertained.
Next stop was Church Road winery. It is one of the eldest wineries in the area. There we saw the actual processing plant. Most of the factory was not working as the harvest is not due in for another few weeks, but I did inspect all equipment with my auditors eye :-). We did get to see the fermentation kettles, the Cuvées the filtration tanks etc. Everythign was being prepared for the oncoming harvest. There was also a small museum about this wineries history. It is located in the old fermentation cellar. When you go down there you can smell the alcohol and wine. It has completely permeated the walls. We walked back to the entrance via the current wine cellar (see picture)
Back int he front shop SO tasted some more wine and I sat in the garden with a large plate if very nice food. The plate consisted of cheese, bread, fruit, wafers, meat etc. SO joined me when he was wined out and we had a lovely lunch there.
Back at the hotel the ladies in reception gave us quite a few ideas for the next day. Really one does not need a tourist advice centre with ladies like that. They seems to know everybody and everything around town. So an other expedition tomorrow. Most likely Art and food. Yes life was good today.