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Wine Tasting - Hawke's Bay vs Martinborough

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Wine Tasting - Hawke's Bay vs Martinborough

Hi! Going to the south end of the north island for a few days and wanted to do at least a day of wine tasting (probably bike tour) and was wondering which region people found better? Hawke's Bay or Martinborough?


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1. Re: Wine Tasting - Hawke's Bay vs Martinborough

Can't compare as we've only been to Hawkes Bay but we did find some rather nice wineries there. It does compare favorably to Napa Valley scene where tastings cost 10-20 times more for wines that are not much (if any) better than the NZ stock.

We have found some very good wines at the following wineries if you end up going to Hawkes Bay.

Salvare Winery (this one was our favorite during our trip last year) - great reds!


Ash Ridge Winery (another dandy nearby to Salvare) - Nice Merlot


Ngatarawa Winery (very nice atmosphere) - Nice whites, great Reisling


Also made stops at Missions, Esk Valley, Elephant Hill Estate Winery (fantastic lunch), and a couple others but the names are escaping me at the moment. The three listed above were our top three for a return visit.

Hope this is helpful.

Edited: 26 February 2013, 00:36
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2. Re: Wine Tasting - Hawke's Bay vs Martinborough

There is actually no comparison between the 2 areas, Hawkes Bay is vastly more wineries, and many more that are open for public tastings. Hawkes bay has multi million dollar wineries in stunning locations, + amazing restaurants and also lots of smaller family run wineries dotted around too. There are at least 3 or 4 'sub-areas' within Hawkes Bay region -There is such a huge variety of places you'll wish you had 3 or 4 days !!

Martinborough is an absolutely lovely area aswell, with a couple of gorgeous historic towns (Greytown & Martinborough specifically), but it is very much a small boutique winery area in comparison to Hawkes Bay. You can easily fill a day in this area aswell, so if you prefer a much smaller low key area, still with plenty to see and do, then you might choose Martinborough....

I love both areas, so it just comes down to personal preference....

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3. Re: Wine Tasting - Hawke's Bay vs Martinborough

You can do Martinborough as a day trip from Wellington (1.25 hour drive), whereas Hawkes Bay is a good 4.5 hours drive away. I guess it really depends how you want to use your time and where you want to base yourself. I agree with what Andychef said about the two areas. Both are lovely.

If you decide to go up to the Hawkes Bay, take SH2 from Wellington. It will take you through the Wairarapa, and you will pass through Greytown. Martinborough is maybe a 10-15 minute drive off the main road.

By the way, there is a seal colony at Cape Palliser - about 50km south of Martinborough. There are great views from the lighthouse there.

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4. Re: Wine Tasting - Hawke's Bay vs Martinborough

Martinborough is possible to walk around the wineries and those that are missed can be sampled in the square. Going to Hawkes bay onw would either have to be part of a tour or drive between vineyards and that in itself creates a problem.

If you are visiting the Bay then by all means partake there, if coming to Wellington area go to Martinborough. The quality of wine in both areas is fantastic

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5. Re: Wine Tasting - Hawke's Bay vs Martinborough

Thanks for your help. I'll definitely have to do some thinking on which I'm going to pick.

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6. Re: Wine Tasting - Hawke's Bay vs Martinborough

I'd recommend Martinborough if you were going to bike. Unlike Hawkes Bay there are a lot of vineyards in a very close proximity (approx 15 cellar doors within 8km) and the roads are really quiet. Hawkes Bay you can end up going quite big distances, which is fine... until you have to bike home again after a full day of tasting wine in the sunshine!

Hope this helps

7. Re: Wine Tasting - Hawke's Bay vs Martinborough

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