When we were on our way to the Matakana Farmers Market, we passed through a sign that said ‘Free Winery Tour 2 p.m.’. Winery tour generally is very expensive, costing at least $55 per person, more if it includes wine dining, so this free tour wasn’t an offer we could refuse.
We arrived just in time before the tour started. We were asked to wait in the backyard of the main building, which opened straight to the striking view of the vineyard. We sat on the benches and admired the view while the sun streamed above us. It was winter, but in Matakana it felt like summer.
The tour started with an introduction of the wine estate. Ascension Wine Estate is family owned, has been for five generations. It is very sustainable, recycles continuously, and only produces about 7000 cases of wine each year. The small scale production allows the estate to maintain the highest quality of wine. Their wines are farmed organically and hand-crafted by passionate people.
After that we we brought into the function room, which can fit about 200 people. It is often used for functions or weddings. Walks through the function room and you’ll find a medium-size shed (it might not even be a shed, but I don’t know what else to call it), where they keep their wines in giant containers before bottling them and selling them online or in the store. Two of their containers, huge ones, are 150 years old.
In here, we got to taste two of their finest wines. A sweet, dessert white wine and a bolder red wine. We all like the white wine better. One of my friends liked it so much he bought a bottle to add to his expanding collection.
The tour lasted for about 20 minutes and we were all led back to the front of the main building. The estate also has an award-winning restaurant. It might be worth a try if you ever visit, since when we were there, it was full.
This was my first winery tour and I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed it. I might not go again for a very long time, but this was a nice experience.
Do visit Matakana whenever you’re in Auckland. It’s only a short 45 minute drive away from Auckland and the country boasts beautiful wineries, picnic areas, and of course the famous farmers market.
Photos from Ascension Wine Estate