The Matakana Wine Trail is a journey of discovery. From Auckland take SH1 north across the Harbour Bridge through picturesque rural and coastal scenery. The trip takes 40 minutes from the bridge. Turn right at Warkworth into Matakana Road where the Matakana Wine Trail begins, continuing east of Matakana Village to points off the Leigh Road, returns back to Sharp Road and the Sandspit Road area. Read about the wineries and choose the ones that interest you the most. Don’t be afraid to make this an adventure – if a winery is open by appointment, give them a ring – they’re usually on site and will make your visit an experience to remember. Enjoy the Character, Diversity and Passion of the Matakana Wine Trail!
Vineyards draped across sunny north-facing hills greet you as you drive into the rustic, charming town of Matakana. As you discover the wineries, oyster farms, potteries, beaches, popular markets and so much more, you’ll get to meet the friendly locals and hear all their stories. Only 40 minutes north of Auckland, Matakana is a town full of character.
With the first vineyard planted in the early 70s, now Matakana has one of the most diverse mixes of grape varieties in New Zealand. 28 different French, Italian, Spanish, even Austrian varieties, comprising 11 whites and 17 reds. While white wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Albarinõ show consistent excellence, the climate is also warm enough to ripen such red wine varieties as Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Be sure to taste the silky Italian varieties such as Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Barbera and Montepulciano. The wines of Matakana are constantly evolving and reflect with distinction their sense of place, climate and community.
Come and meet the winegrowers and discover their passion for wine. Don’t consider it simply visiting another cellar door, immerse yourself in their wine world. If a winery is open by appointment, give them a ring and make an appointment, ask questions and soak it all in. Matakana wines are truly boutique, and it’s the people behind those delicious wines, the people who handpick the grapes themselves, that will make your visit a special one..
Wine has been produced in the Matakana GI since at least the mid 1950’s, when Peter Unkovich and his wife Norma planted Siebel, Palomino and Baco 22A at Bay View Vineyard in Snells Beach. They gained a winemaking license in 1961.
The first Vitis vinifera vines were planted in Matakana by Petar and James Vuletic in 1979. They planted Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. They created The Antipodean label and subsequently went their separate ways in the mid to late 1980’s. Providence Vineyard was subsequently developed by James Vuletic and became focussed on a Merlot dominant blend whilst the Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Antipodean label remained with Petar Vuletic until sold in the early 2000’s.
Heron’s flight Vineyard followed in 1988. Ransom Wines followed in 1993, then in rapid succession, Brick Bay, Ascension, Hyperion, and Matakana Estate all followed in the early to mid 90’s. Most vineyards of this era had Bordeaux varietals as their red production – augmented by small patches of Pinot Noir, Pinotage and Syrah. The white production was centred on Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
Positive reviews for several wines of this era supported the decision to plant these varieties and they have remained flag-bearers for the production of the Matakana GI.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, Heron’s Flight is notable as it removed all French varietals and replanted with Italian. Ransom Wines planted the rare Carmenere. More winegrowers followed (Takatu, Coxhead Creek, Ti Point, Greve, Mahurangi River, OBV, Gillman, Saltings, Matavino, Runner Duck, Hawk’s Nest, Merry Fields, Sculptureum, Contour Estate, Nola to name most) since then. This third wave of producers expanded the varietal field by planting Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Albarino, Roussanne, Montepulciano, Tannat and Petit Verdot.
This movement saw an increase in plantings of white grape varieties as well as a diversification of red varieties – notably Syrah and the Italian varietals. Nevertheless, this development should be regarded as adding to the existing recognition of the GI’s capacity for producing Cabernet Franc and Merlot-predominant styles.
As of the 2017 vintage, there were more than 65 hectares planted and 21 commercial grape growing/winery operations within the Matakana GI. The majority of vineyards and wineries are family owned businesses, run by a small number of full time staff and generally owner operated.
There are 28 varieties (17 Red and 11 White) planted which makes Matakana one of the most diverse wine regions in New Zealand.
September and October
Highly sucessfull in 2018 Feast Matakana is a series of events for everyone to sample, taste, learn and experience the delicious food and drink produced in the Matakana region.
See www.matakananz.co.nz/feast-matakana for more.
Matakana Oyster & Wine Festival
Another great festival was held in 2018 and you can register for for 2019 at oysterfestmatakana.co.nz
Many of the wineries litsed here have their cellar doors where you can buy wine directly or websites where you can puchase online.
In addition the following retail outlets stock a reasonable slection of Matakana wines.