After check out and breakfast we packed our things in the car and drove about 3 hours to one of New Zealand’s famous wine country areas…Hawke’s Bay. The drive was beautiful through the green hills but we had imagined New Zealand looking more like Lord of the Rings…which we weren’t seeing yet. We realized we were entering wine country once we started seeing grape-vines and the first winery, Esk Valley. We pulled in and did some wine tasting. Since we love wine so much and have now learned about and tasted it from so many regions around the world, we were excited to venture into New Zealand wine. The wines were definitely cooler climate wines…lighter for reds and a bit spicy, but we enjoyed talking to the staff about their various types. We bought one bottle and continued our drive to get checked into our B&B.
As we pulled up to the B&B, Manor on Parade (www.manoronparadenapier.co.nz)…we saw it was across from the ocean and within a 10 minute walk to the center of the village. The owner was not overly friendly but rather short and to the point. She showed us to our room which had a nice sized balcony and private bathroom. We settled in and then took a walk to go see the town of Napier.
Town seemed quaint with many boutiques and restaurants lining the streets. One of the areas was pedestrian zone only where shoppers could walk around freely without worrying about cars. We found a little cafe on the corner and sat for some lunch. We ordered a couple of teapots of herbal tea and a super healthy salad full of sprouts and raw veggies. After lunch, we continued walking around although many shops were closing down for the day since it was about 5PM. At the end of the street was a huge building called, the wine center. It was practically calling our name… We walked inside and the first room had a film playing about wine making and the various regions in New Zealand. It also had some historical wine props and more informative fun facts on the process. After reading a bit in that room, we continued onto the main room down the hall. The man behind the counter welcomed us and we chatted with him a bit about our wine experience and interests etc. He pulled a wine map out and circled some places he thought would be appealing to us. He also set us up with a wine tasting of about 7 wines. He gave us paper and pencil and we wrote down our tasting notes and ratings as we tasted each glass. Once we finished, we bought a bottle we hadn’t tasted from a different wine maker and left to find dinner.
Most things were closed but we found a Chinese take-out place…the couple walking out said it was great so, we tried it. We ordered several different dishes, took it back to our room and watched a scary movie with the lights off. For those of you wondering, Insidious was the movie…it is freaky…