The Best Waiheke Wineries

A stone’s throw from the Auckland CBD, Waiheke wineries are both world-renowned and enjoyed by locals. To help you decide which wineries you’d like to visit on Waiheke Island, we’ve bundled up our favourites.

This post was first featured on Exploring Auckland.

Waiheke Island is the wine capital of Auckland and is known as New Zealand’s ‘Island of Wine’.

With over 20 vineyards inhabiting the island, some since the early 1980’s, it’s easy to see why. In fact a number of these vineyards are internationally recognised – with some winning international awards year in, year out.

These wineries are so much more than simply places to drink wine though.

With incredible food, service, atmosphere and backdrops, each of these wineries provide the perfect place to spend a lazy, boozy afternoon.

Whether you’re planning a day trip or a multi-day jaunt on Waiheke Island, we suggest you pick the next spell of clear weather and get yourself over there!

About Waiheke Island

Waiheke [Why-hekey] is the second largest and most populated island in the Hauraki Gulf. It is 19.3km in length and has a surface area of around 92km2. With 9,330 permanent residents it is the most densely populated island after the north and south islands of New Zealand.

With a distance of 21.5km from the city centre ferry terminal to the main ferry terminal on the island it is one of the most favoured day trips or weekend getaways for people in the region.

In 2015 Lonely Planet rated Waiheke Island the 5th best region in the world to visit!

Getting To Waiheke Island

Getting to Waiheke Island is super easy; make your way to the Devonport or Auckland City ferry terminal and purchase yourself a two-way ticket to Waiheke Island on a Fullers ferry. The ferry ride is around 40 minutes long and there is a refreshment bar onboard.

When it’s time to return home, ensure you check the last ferry for the day as this is not a 24-hour service.

Though there are other ways to get to and from Waiheke, the public ferries are best suited to most people.

Getting Around Waiheke Island

Getting around Waiheke Island isn’t difficult.

Upon disembarking your ferry (which will be at Matiatia Port, assuming you’ve used Fullers) you can flag down a taxi or hop aboard one of the many buses. It’s also possible to hire a scooter from Oneroa, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are going to be sinking a few local wines.

The buses go almost everywhere and the drivers are usually very accommodating towards visitors, yelling out when they stop at or near a vineyard. Plus, you won’t need to worry about having a sober driver.

Taxis, scooters and rental cars are available on the island, along with the local-version of Uber.

Book Accommodation on Waiheke Island

Booking.com

The Best Waiheke Wineries

The following are our favourite Waiheke Wineries (in no particular order).

Be warned though, they’re all fabulous so you’ll want to visit as many as possible!

1. Tantalus Estate

Tantalus Estate is one of my favourite vineyards and one that I plan on revisiting every summer.

Founded in 2013 and sitting upon 8.3 hectares in the heart of Onetangi Valley, Tantalus Estate is probably one of the most elegant vineyards on the island. Its indoor dining hall feeling like a glass house with the extensive and large windows facing towards the vines. They’ve also got chandeliers crafted from old vines and an open and flowing setting (so you’ll never feel you are too close to another table). It really is perfection!

As well as the main restaurant, the venue also holds a Brewers Lounge. Located on the ground floor, this lounge allows views into the brewery itself. The Brewers Lounge is perfect to grab a drink if you’re waiting on your reservation, and is also a nice place to sit and simply enjoy the view.

Whilst there, you can also enjoy time among the vines by going for a wander or find yourself a seat and a few games to play on the lawn.

It almost goes without saying that the service at Tantalus Estate is impeccable. The food is also delicious and wine very ‘more-ish’.

It really is worth the visit – even if it’s for a single drink.

This winery is accessible via bus, taxi or helicopter, and as it sits within a cluster of other vineyards (all within walking distance), there really is no excuse to not visit this amazing vineyard.

2. Mudbrick

Aptly named, Mudbrick Vineyard is a Southern French styled restaurant made of mudbrick. It is a beautiful venue that consistently gets excellent reviews. It also boasts some of the best views on the island.

Producing merlot, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and Syrah there is no shortage of delectable wines that come out of this iconic New Zealand winery – the only question in which you’ll try first!

Dining at Mudbrick is also a real treat. The food is absolutely amazing and though it isn’t cheap, it is worth the investment. You really can’t go wrong with their menu but if you’re looking for a recommendation I’d suggest the oysters and gnocci – yum!

With a beautiful dining area (including outdoor patio seating), a rooftop bar supplying Mudbrick wines and cocktails, and a terraced garden overlooking the venue (with views towards the harbour and across the city), there are plenty of different ways to unwind.

I suggest you grab yourself a glass of wine or a gin and tonic, sit amongst the lavender on top of a beanbag and soak up the glory which is Waiheke Island.

A well-loved vineyard, restaurant and wedding venue, Mudbrick also boasts numerous accommodation options. Should you so choose, you can wine and dine to your heart’s content, before slipping off to your onsite room.

Pro tip: You’ll catch some of the best sunsets on the island from Mudbrick!

3. Casita Miro

Casita Miro is the smallest vineyard on the island, using only 4.2 hectares to produce two lovely Bordeaux blends of red wine. Highly regarded, they have previously won awards for ‘Best Destination Restaurant’, along with multiple food awards and being included in the ‘Top 50 Auckland Restaurants’ (for 9 years in a row!)

Casita Miro is the closest vineyard to Onetangi Beach. It is also a proudly family-owned and run establishment. It’s not surprising that the vineyard oozes familiarity and intimacy – it is the best for a social dining experience.

Casita Miro is influenced by Spanish and Mediterranean cuisines. They focus on a quality shared dining experience and are especially known for their tapas and raciones (shared plates).

Their yard includes numerous bean bags, and small tables and chairs. Olive trees are scattered throughout the yard to provide enough shade for an afternoon on the wines.

Casita Miro frequently tops the list of local favourites and is, without doubt, one of the best Waiheke wineries.

4. Te Motu

Te Motu Vineyard was established in the Onetangi Valley in 1989 and sits within a cluster of various other vineyards. Growing Cabernet and Merlot grapes, their flagship wine is a cabernet sauvignon with merlot, cabernet franc and Malbec.

Te Motu is a smaller venue compared to its neighbours, however that doesn’t mean there is any less love or effort put into this gorgeous site. With a beautiful and very intimate setting, it is perfect for small groups looking for a more casual and fun day out among the vines.

We visited Te Motu for a rosé launch last summer. We loved sitting among the vines on the grass, enjoying music being blasted from a DJ booth inside the courtyard.

What an amazing way to spend a summer’s afternoon!

5. Wild on Waiheke

Calling themselves a ‘giant outdoor beer garden’, Wild on Waiheke is perfect for families, couples and groups.

Boasting a relaxed atmosphere with activities like archery and laser clay bird shooting it’s hard to turn down such an entertaining winery experience.

Wild on Waiheke has various beer and wines available for tasting from only $3 each.

Their dining experience can be anything from platters, grazing boards and small nibbles to large dishes of your own to help keep the alcohol flowing. It’s worth mentioning just how good the food is too!

Not only is this winery child-friendly (with their own playground), there is also an abundance of free games around the property if archery or clay bird shooting isn’t too much of your thing.

6. Cable Bay

Cable Bay has won numerous awards since being founded in 1998 and is now one of the better-known vineyards on the island.

They make an impressive array of wines from grapes grown on Waiheke Island and Marlborough. From sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, to all types of reds, they really do have most based covered.

Cable Bay is set on the western facing side of the island and on an extensive piece of land. Including vineyards, olive groves, gardens and spaces where private events and dining can be experienced, this is a stellar spot. The view is only obstructed by rolling hills and small areas of forestry which continue onto the harbour and beyond to the city on the horizon.

On a fine day you can enjoy bean bags on the lawn or a platter on the patio.

This is one of the best locations to watch the sunset on the island.

901901

7. Jurassic Ridge

Jurassic Ridge is a small Waiheke vineyard with a massive name for itself.

Run by an ex-nurosurgeon, this winery focuses on what really matters – good wine. Though they don’t serve food, they do pour a heck of a good drop!

With a focus on natural wine, they age a product that is said to taste better, smell better and are actually better for the environment.

Jurassic Ridge employ sustainable, organic, vegan practises in their wine making. They do as little to the wine as possible… that means as little crushing as possible (if at all), ensuring a gentle and slow natural ferment (in small batches) and doing away chemicals.

Most importantly though, they extend the ageing period – often pushing out to 6-9 years of bottle-raging in the cellar.

As the team at Mainland says, good things take time.

8. Batch

The highest vineyard on Waiheke Island, Batch Winery has some of the best views around. It really is one of the best photographic spots in Auckland!

Not only do they enjoy a fantastic location, but Batch is known for consistently producing amazing wine. In particular, we recommend their sparkling rosé.

Proudly run by the Thomas family, this winery named after the batch-production it employs. As you’ve probably already figured out, it is also a homophone for ‘bach’; the true-blue kiwi holiday home. A New Zealand bach is a place to relax with friends and family, often by the beach – just like life on Waiheke Island.

Unsurprisingly, an afternoon at Batch is a relaxed affair which is exactly why we love it so much. They manage to balance excellent service with an amazing atmosphere, fine wine and tasty food.

Head along for a drink, a full meal, or their widely acclaimed high tea.

Seriously, what is not to love?

Did you know? Batch even have their own small coach. They are able to collect you from the Matiatia Ferry Terminal and drop you back at the end of your visit.

9. Peacock Sky Vineyard

Peacock Sky Vineyard is a popular choice amongst those in the know.

Run by a husband and wife team, this winery and restaurant consistently gets excellent ratings, making it one of the best on the island.

The vineyard was first established in 2008 and in 2013 they added Le Côté de la Colline. This restaurant, led by Connie, serves a fresh Mediterranean inspired lunch.

With an extensive line of méthode traditionnelle ‘bubbles’, rosé, red and white wines, it’s easy to find a drop you’ll love at this beautiful vineyard.

Ensure you plan for a long lunch when you swing by Peacock Sky!

10. Stonyridge

If you are a fan of high-quality red wine then Stonyridge is an absolute must-visit on your Waiheke vineyard tour! As world-renowned cabernet-blend winegrowers, it’s unsurprising that they create an amazing drop.

Located on the perfect north facing site, Stonyridge is ideally positioned to create a premium Bordeaux style red wine right here in New Zealand.

In 1982 the site was first planted with Bordeaux vines and olive trees (making it the first commercial olive grove in New Zealand). In 1983 Cabernet Franc and Malbec followed, allowing for a range of potential wine blends.

Since then, the vineyard has gone on to wine countless awards and has received international recognition for the quality of their wines. Without doubt, it is one of the most famous vineyards on Waiheke.

There’s really nothing left to do but pop over to Waiheke to taste one of their reds for yourself…

Bonus DIY Walking Vineyard Tour

If it’s your first (or even seventh trip to the island) and you’re wanting to make a day of visiting multiple vineyards then you’re in luck!

Tantalus, Wild on Waiheke, Te Motu and Stonyridge vineyards are all within a 5-minute walk of each other. Take the Onetangi bus from Matiatia Ferry and kindly ask the bus driver to yell out when you reach Wild on Waiheke. From there you can easily jump on to Stonyridge, Te Motu and/or Tantalus vineyards.

Or, if you’d prefer, you can visit the aforementioned wineries in reverse.

Start your day off fancy or begin your day a little bit ‘wild’. Either way make sure you remember the time the last ferry leaves the island, as there is no other way back to the mainland if you miss it!


Photo by Camilla Rutherford

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *