The real magic in visiting Wanaka in autumn is the harvest experience. The food, the wine, and the craft beer is what set our region apart from almost anywhere else.
There are numerous wine and beer tours that cover a variety of commercial vineyards and breweries. However, so much more is to be gained from digging a little deeper and finding those smaller owner-operated vineyards. These are the ones that are off the beaten track and sometimes slightly harder to find.
When we check-in guests, it’s not only the keys we pass over, it’s often the little gems of local information. We know more about Wanaka than the World Wide Web. We love to offer suggestions when guests ask, so they can begin to curate their own local experiences.
When asked, we set guests off on a path around the vineyards that we as locals know. We listen to our guests and recommend a very attractive route that takes our guests on their own self-drive wine tour. This always includes a fabulous lunch suggestion included perhaps 3 or 4 vineyards, some stunning scenery, which is what creates those enduring memories of a holiday well spent.
Our self-drive wine and gastronomic tour suggestions could have you starting with tasting at Paddon’s Paddock, right on Highway 6 on the outskirts of Wanaka. They are a small newly established family-run vineyard known for its full range of wines and the beautiful setting of its tasting room.
Moving on take highway 8A towards Tarras, and in only 15 minutes on the road, you won’t miss the signage to Maori Point Vineyard along Maori Point Road. You will discover this little gem of a vineyard on the banks of the Mata Au (Clutha River). This area is steeped in Maori history. It is also known for its fabulous award-winning wines and its constant innovation. This is where you will hear the stories of the area and experience the passion for Central Otago wines.
After this memorable stop, you are back on the road, this time heading down highway 8 towards Bendigo station legendary for its tales of Shrek the sheep. Pop into Mondillo wines specializing in the very elegant Central Otago Pinot Noir. From Mondillo you will be ready for lunch. So head on another 15 minutes heading to Cromwell where you will find The Stoaker Room. It is renowned for its local produce either smoked or cooked in French oak Pinot Noir barrels, a truly unique experience. It is only another 40 minutes drive back to Wanaka so call into the fruit stalls on your way back for some fresh stone fruit or a real fruit ice cream!
Once refreshed, call into the Domaine Thomson Vineyard at Lowburn overlooking the Pisa Moorings. You will be enchanted by their wines, the story behind their biodynamic wine, and the views over Lake Dunstan. Alternatively, opt for the Nanny Goat Vineyard at Queensbury. Both offer a rich array of wines and are well known for their Pinot Noir.