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Tripping Around the Vines


Our two-and-a-half-hour trip up the East Coast, after leaving Wellington, over the windy Rimutakas, was rewarded by the quaint town of Martinborough.

Martinborough is now a boutique town with Restaurants, bars and cafes, all very well stocked for the foodie. When we arrived in the town centre, the place was buzzing with people relaxing in the late afternoon sun over a glass of wine and nibbles or early dinner. A very vibrant little town indeed. Residents commute to Wellington, for work every day, a bit of a trek over the Rimutakas, but there is a train service that many choose instead of driving.

Margrain Vineyard


In the heart of Martinborough’s wine region, you will find Margrain Vineyard. Their Vineyard and Winery Tours take you through the vine to wine process and the history of Martinborough wine making, tasting as you go of course! Tour and Platter package cost is $49.00 pp.

Margrain offer villa style accommodation, set amongst the vines. Lovely, comfortable and quiet. Continental breakfast is complementary; of preserved fruit, cereal and milk. Quite good as the accommodation was very reasonable and a bonus of waking up to a view of the vineyard.

LOCATION: Ponatahi Road, Martinborough 5792

We made our way up the coast to the wonderful Hawkes’ Bay where we stayed for a couple of nights at the Woolshed Apartments situated in the township of Havelock North, there is so much to experience in this wonderful region. The township is full of colour from the fresh hanging baskets full of blooms. Beautiful, colourful and very well presented. It’s obvious that the business owners, the council and locals are a ‘house proud’ lot.

Our friends, having moved from Wellington, tell us they have seen a lot of change in the last 25 years.

Craggy Range Vineyard


The Giants Winery complex is home to the Cellardoor and the Terroir Restaurant. Craggy Range is situated in a premium wine growing area of Havelock North.

Nestled among the romantic vines are self-contained boutique cottages. Craggy range was established in 1997 by Terry Peabody and Steve Smith.  The vineyard gets its name from the Range that almost surrounds the area. We were told Dame Kiri, amongst other celebrities, had given sold out performances in the amphitheatre, set amongst a man-made lake, with impressive bigger than life size animal sculptures.

We enjoyed a wine tasting by a superb official wine taster who served us; giving us the background of Gimblett Gravels and information on each variety that we tasted. Gimblett gravels is a sub-brand and boasts a separate winegrowers association, hence a separate label on the Craggy Range bottles we purchased. The Gimblett Gravels brand combines the French concept of terroir with modern day thinking; to define, protect and market wine. The district is 800 hectares strictly determined by gravelly soils, laid down by the old Ngaruroro River, which were exposed in the 1860’s.  (More of this in our next WineNZ issue, as we visit and discuss how the gravels grapes produce superior award-winning wine.)

As our focus is on wine and its production methods, we were most impressed by the pristine vineyards and surroundings, the architecture fitting in with the surrounding area, and professionalism of all the staff of Graggy Range, is indicative of very proud owners/caretakers.  

We purchased a Rose Gimblett Gravels and a Merlot Gimblet Gravels, which will not take us too long to enjoy.  Havelock North’s Craggy Range’s rugged vastness and the unique history of its Gimblett Gravels and delicious wines left us with lasting memories. Lovely place to visit.

LOCATION: 253 Waimarama Road, Havelock North.

Black Barn Vineyard


This boutique vineyard is five minutes from the village of Havelock North, situated on the Te Mata hills providing stunning views for the visitor, a perfect situation to spend an hour or two over lunch and a wine tasting.

Black Barn offers luxury accommodation of seventeen properties. Not cheap but absolutely unique and recognized amongst the very best available in New Zealand.

The Black Barn Growers Market is held every Saturday morning in the summer months where you will find many mouth-watering goodies.

There is an amphitheatre for entertainment, which has been described by internationally recognized singers as the best outdoor venue in New Zealand. The whole amphitheatre is surrounded by 50-year-old Muscatel grapes. Black Barn Rose 2018 Vintage, a most enjoyable drop indeed on a warm afternoon tripping through the vines.

Their 2019 Vintage is now available on line at - $23 per bottle. Enjoy!