After where I left you in Part 3 of our story, I pulled into the winery parking lot and slowly exited Mr. Brightside trying not to wake my friends in the back. Success! This little winery was perched on a hillside that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. The smell of slight sea salt juxtaposed with oaky wine-stained barrels was blissful. I walked into an empty cellar door. Trying not to be a pushy American, I held off on knocking on the counter and shouting, “Excuse me!” I felt no need. Soon enough, an older man resembling Ernest Hemingway strolled out with a wine thief in one hand and a glass half filled in the other.
“Hi,” I said as I tried to figure out if he worked here or just drank there. “Hello,” he replied never looking up. “Wanna taste some wines?”
Without thinking twice, I followed him to the counter. And without knowing it, I stumbled into the Canterbury/Wairapa wine regions of New Zealand. Both I would find out, were incredible. The Ernest look alike turned out to be the wine maker. He poured his Sauvignon Blanc, Rieslings and then we went into the lower level to barrel taste his reds. The unexpected one-on-one time with the winemaker (at no cost) is always appreciated. When we walked back out to the tasting room, my friends were there. They weren’t upset, but rather were taking photos and telling me how much they enjoyed the scenery. It’s these unexpected turns in life that make it so interesting. Sure, we had a plan in New Zealand, but when we allowed ourselves to veer down dirt roads and go with the flow, we found adventures we never thought possible along with extraordinary people.
The rest of the trip we crossed off some bucket-list items in the adrenaline category—bungy jumping, zorbing and jet boating. New Zealand is filled with adventures and wineries of all kinds. The best way to make the most of New Zealand and its wine regions is to take the Classic Wine Trail—and follow every appealing dirt road and broken, wooden winery sign in between.
I encourage you to travel to New Zealand and enjoy your own adventure! All you need is an open road, an open mind and thirst for wine! Safe travels!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Orignally from Missouri, Katie has lived in Switzerland, Chicago, San Francisco. Brooklyn and Arizona-and prefers to live in close proximity to old vines. Her first job in college was pouring wines and pruning wines at a winery in Augusta, Missouri which was the first designated AVA in American. Since then, Katie has spend several years working in corporate America as a copywriter and content marketer. She now works for herself because "her boss" adheres to a strict unlimited winery vacation policy. Follow her tasting and travel notes: @eieigel.