We drove to the Hawke’s Bay wine region today for a little wine tasting. For such a small area, it has distinct regions with different growing conditions. We started in the north area at Linden Estate Winery and Restaurant. Tasting rooms are referred to as “cellar door” and many wineries also have a restaurant or cafe. They had a nice selection of reds and whites. A local couple came in and recommended a few other wineries. We stayed for lunch and watched as they prepared the grounds for a wedding tomorrow.

Poached blue cod with roasted potatoes and salad

Next, we went in search of one of the wineries recommended for a bold red. We found the sign for Redmetal Winery and drove up the gravel driveway only to realize it was a private residence. It turns out their wine is available for tasting at the super fancy Sileni winery next door. The server was very friendly and even gave us a hand-annotated map of must-see places in the south island. The winery had a good selection of wines, chocolate, cheeses and other foodstuffs. The Redmetal Merlot was quite good.

Many of the vineyards are quite young compared to California vineyards. Stonycroft Winery is owned by a young couple that recently bought the vineyards and have been reviving the winery. The area is very gravely and we’ve been told it is one of the up and coming wine growing regions in the world.

Our last stop was on the coast at Clearview Winery. We picked up a wonderful late harvest dessert wine there. Our server was finishing up her degree in winemaking and looking forward to a permanent position working with the winemaker and working in marketing in the offseason. She was very passionate about her wines.

Tonight we’re staying at the Ormlie, a beautiful B&B in a house built in 1899. The original owner built the house for his daughter. He was a Brit and the first person to ship frozen meat from New Zealand to England. The house has 6 private rooms, a restaurant, bar and large reception room. They are also setting up for a wedding tomorrow. We are the only guests staying tonight, so we had the dining room to ourselves. The manager spent a lot of time telling us about the local wines, and he paired wines with our dinner. After dinner, he closed up the house and went home. I think we’re here in the huge house by ourselves.

Smoked beetroot salad with goat cheese paired with Sauvignon Blanc

Pork loin with salsa verde, cannellini and chorizo

Salmon with pickled cabbage and dried figs paired with Chardonnay

Salted caramel chocolate tart with cashew ice cream paired with Merlot

We’ve heard a cyclone (hurricane) may hit on Sunday, so we turned on the TV for the first time. It sounds like we’ll be safe from the cyclone, but now we’ve been sucked into silly New Zealand TV shows. They have a show about stupid drivers and road rage, and they weren’t even referring to the American tourists. The next show was Jono & Ben, a bit Daily Show, pranking, and sketch comedy. Of course, they had to make fun of Trump and Bush.

I forgot to mention the other day we heard a description of the Super Bowl on the radio. A day for American gluttony where we gorge on pizza, chicken wings and guacamole. The players are dressed like spacemen and there is an offense and defense which means five guys keep running on and off the field. Having seen a bit of rugby on the TV in cafes, I can see why they would think this. Toned men in shorts is a bit more attractive than the NFL.

Daily ratings:
Linden Winery – 4 Kiwis
Sileni Winery – 4 Kiwis
Stonycroft Winery – 3 Kiwis
Clearview Winery – 4 Kiwis
Ormlie – 5 Kiwis

Steps taken: 1,685
Sips taken: I don’t have a device to count that thankfully