Fullers organizes a Wine & Dine package that takes attendees to Stonyridge, Batch and Cable Bay wineries.
I’m not a very good Aucklander.
Although living here for a decade, I spent very little time on Waiheke Island. A wedding at a winery, yes, a wine tasting for an anniversary, but I have never stayed overnight and have never hopped between wineries on the same day.
And that makes it a bit difficult to know where to go and which winery to choose for tastings.
Step into a winter package by Fullers360, taking the guesswork out of where to go. The Waiheke Wine & Dine package is the perfect all-inclusive travel and dining experience for people like me who want to try different options, but don’t have to try to coordinate everything myself. The Lazy Girl’s Ultimate Guide to Wine Tasting in Waiheke.
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After taking the ferry from Auckland, a coach picks up passengers outside the terminal to take you to one of three participating wineries: Stonyridge, The Batch or Cable Bay.
Our first stop is Stonyridge for a lunch tray. There are comfy leather sofas inside, but outside are seats made from old barrels overlooking the vines. On a sunny winter’s day, it’s the perfect perch to enjoy a glass of wine and an antipasto platter filled with salmon, charcuterie, cheese, olives, spreads and breads, prawns and picked vegetables.
To travel between wineries, guests use the island’s Hop On Hop Off bus. Our next stop takes us to The Batch, Waiheke’s highest winery. The altitude and the microclimate allow them to grow grapes that give the wines slightly different characteristics.
Our guide Al pours us a beautiful sparkling wine, blanc de gris, while showing us around the cellar, the vats, the barrel room and explaining the unique aspects and history of the cellar. We move on to a pinot gris, a chardonnay and finish with a syrah with a quick trip outside to take in the spectacular view of the island from the top of the winery.
Our final stop is Cable Bay, where we sit in the cozy cellar and sample four different wines as their individual characteristics are explained. After the tasting was over, we decided to pick a prime spot to watch the sunset from the restaurant, ordered an espresso martini and pizza, and enjoyed the serenity.
It would have been easy to spend the evening there, but we had a bus to catch and a ferry back to Auckland – smooth sailing with happy bellies and a sweet hum in our veins.
Winter Wine and Dine takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until October 16, 2022. It costs $125 per person.
Ferry crossings depart Auckland at 12:00 p.m. and the Winter Wine and Dine coach will be waiting for you when you arrive at Mātiatia Ferry Terminal at 12:45 p.m. Reservations essential. See: fullers.co.nz/winter-wine-and-dine
Stay safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Follow the instructions on covid19.govt.nz.
The writer was a guest on Fullers 360