Could this be the best new vineyard and tasting experience in New Zealand? The Landing vineyard spreads over 23 gently sloping acres, surrounded by wetlands, 1.2 million new tree plantings, and all with jaw-droppingly scenic views. Established in 2007 – and with the new state of the art winery completed in 2019 – wines are now crafted from seed, to vineyard, to barrel and bottle.
It’s a beautiful slice of quintessential New Zealand land – rolling hills and deep native bush. Open for visitors for a relaxed stroll through the vines, to taste regional food and award-winning wines in one of the most spectacular vistas imaginable. Both options for tastings at Wairoa Bay feature a pick-up by their private boat ‘Iti Rangi’ from Waitangi, Paihia or Russell, and a cruise across the sparkling waters of the Bay of Islands, heading for the white sands spread out beside the private jetty.
Choose the “Cellar Door Lunch” which will give you time for a tour of the property – think kiwi-filled bush, historic sites and headlands with 360 degree views. That’s before being given a glass of chilled rosé as you walk the vineyards, smell the aromas of the French oak in the barrel hall, and settle into the winery. You get to linger over a tasting of the collection of The Landing wines – wines that just get better year on year. The resident chef might include produce from the Estate for your 2-course lunch, and your host will produce a couple of glasses to go with it.
If you have a little less time, or budget, then “A Taste of the Landing” is an appealing option. Lunch is swapped for a grazing platter, and the focus is more on the experience of tasting the wines. But in 2.5 hours you’ll still get to visit the vineyard, cruise to and from the property, and drink in the view that surely rivals even Rippon in Wanaka for “Winery View of the Year”. At $250 a head this has to be one of the Must-Do wine experiences in the country.
In November, The Landing is hosting a weekend aimed at wine aficionados – ‘A Vineyard Weekend with the Winemakers’. Over three days and two nights, you can discover the secrets of winemaking with Ben Byrne and consultant Warren Gibson. Blending, tastings, as well as tours, fishing and tastes of the region’s fabulous food. All in this pristine environment, and staying in the luxury of the Estate Residences. See the website for more details – it’s on 20-22 November.
If visiting the winery, or coming to one of the ‘Wellness Weekends’ or the ‘Vineyard Weekend’ above, be warned – you might not want to leave! And of course, you don’t have to. *WineFolio was a guest of The Landing this weekend, and had the opportunity to tour all the Estate properties and stay a night in the Cooper Residence. All we’ll say is that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime stay… that you’ll want to do much more often than that!
With COVID-19 tourism woes of no international visitors and closed borders that 2020 has brought us – now may well be the best time you’ll ever have to relax in one of these luxuriously appointed residences. The views are mesmerising. Step inside the properties and you’ll find amazing attention to details – surfaces of honed marble, limestone, massive wooden beams and soft leather. Libraries of books, historical artefacts, art and photography. Nooks to explore, to rest, sit and think. I found it therapeutic, to stop and hear the sounds of nature, and be still, amongst it. The stars! Mars appeared above the moon as the kiwi called to each other across the valleys.
It’s one of those things that you don’t know you need it until you find it – but I heartily recommend you do try it. From the Taste of the Landing wine experience, to an overnight stay in this coastal paradise; it’s well deserved – and waiting to be discovered.
* The writer was hosted overnight as a guest of The Landing, during an extended visit to the Bay of Islands. More to come on wines of the region in our next articles.