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DIY winery tours in New Zealand

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We are doing a land tour of New Zealand followed by a cruise from Auckland to Perth in Feb 2019. We love wine, but are not familiar with visiting wineries.

Could someone please explain what to expect if we try to diy instead of booking an organised tour. What does “cellar door tasting” actually mean. Do you usually pay for a tasting? Can you look around the vineyards? Are you expected to buy? Any info or guidance would be much appreciated, thanks.

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Could someone please explain what to expect if we try to diy instead of booking an organised tour. What does “cellar door tasting” actually mean. Do you usually pay for a tasting? Can you look around the vineyards? Are you expected to buy?
If you simply turn up under your own steam (as most people do), then IME the answers are generally yes, no, and no. However, there are in particular exceptions to the first - a recent notable one was when I was at Man O' War earlier this year.

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We find that visiting wineries on our own provides a much superior experience than with a group tour. Primarily with private visits you get much more attention from the staff and often the opportunity to taste additional wines. Groups tend to crowd the tasting room and limited time often means limited tasting or at least rushed tasting. We often bypass a winery if we see a bus and then come back later. Tasting room staff in smaller operations tend to be family members while larger operations employ pleasant and well trained and informed sales oriented staff.

 

 

 

We have visited roughly 40 wineries in NZ, all on our own. Winery visits in NZ are much like what you find in the US and not like European experiences. You may not be familiar with that so - first of all, they are generally open to the public at regular hours as published on their web sites and reservations are needed only at the most exclusive wineries (and those are usually easy to get). Expect a pleasant tasting room offering a flight of 4 to 8 wines (11 is the most we have seen). Usually the flights are a mix of white and red wines. Sometimes there are choices of white or red flights or of premium flights. There is usually a fee which is often applicable to any purchases you may make. You may purchase a single flight and share it. Generally tastings are at a stand up bar sometimes with a bar stool. Occasionally you find fancier places with a table tasting service and these often offer a cheese and charcuterie platter (for a fee). Also some larger, fancier places offer separate restaurants with gourmet meals. Vineyard tours are not common but very often the tasting room in in the vineyard and there is no objection to wandering about. Tours of the production facilities are rare and when offered are typically at specific times.

 

 

 

NZ, like most countries (other than France) keeps their best wines at home. The economics of export paperwork and fees make it infeasible to export small quantities and the local market demand is sufficient to support these premium wines. You will find that your perceptions of NZ wines will be greatly expanded.

 

 

Enjoy you trip, Robbie

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Thanks so much for the really excellent info....now we know what to expect we can confidently plan which wineries to visit. Can not wait to get tasting :)

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Cellar door just means you're at the winery rather than at a separate location like a restaurant or bar. I have never felt like I was expected to make a purchase but it's hard not to!

 

Sent from my Lenovo A7600-F using Forums mobile app

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