Waiheke Island

This post is taken directly from my diary.
Essentially I went wine tasting by myself and thought it would be a good idea to write notes as I went along, in the hopes I would look like I was there for a reason other than getting inappropriately tipsy by myself.  Reading it back, parts really tickled me so I thought it was worth sharing.
I recommend reading this whilst drinking wine -the more the better – but drink responsibly. 

* * *

Today I spontaneously decided to visit Waiheke Island. I felt like I was in paradise even before we had reached land.


With the help of the tourist information centre on the island, I decided to do a  bus / walking tour of a few wineries.

Wild on Waiheke

$2 per tasting glass.  I’m trying three: Pinot Gris, Rosé and Wildling

  1. Pinot Gris

It tastes lovely. Apparently  it’s pear, lychee with a hint of butterscotch. I’m not sure if my palette is sophisticated enough to detect those fruits. I think I’m getting notes of pear. Though a pear is not musical and I find that a very strange expression.

2. Rosé

According to the description it’s strawberries and cream and screams Wimbledon in a glass. I’m not sure it it screams “Wimbledon” or “I’d be over-priced if you ordered a glass of me.”  I am underwhelmed but could definitely get drunk off the stuff.

You can tell people here are leisurely drinking but I’m planning on hitting on four more wineries so I’m drinking quite quickly. I find it very funny I’m doing this as backpacker, I’m clearly so out of place here.


The solution for feeling awkward? More wine obviously.

3. Wildling.

Beforehand I drink a glass of water in an attempt to be sensible. The wine tastes like firewood but in a weirdly satisfying way. Maybe that’s the vanilla oak I’m tasting. I swill the glass, attempting to look like I know what I’m doing.
“I used to work in a French restaurant,” I feel like saying, “I know about wine.”

This is meant taste of cherry. All I can think is: “Yup. This is red wine. A rather nice one actually.”  I can imagine gentlemen drinking this in a top hats and talking in a mahogany office whilst guffawing. One of them definitely has too big a moustache.

Time to ask for the bill and walk to the next winery.

Stonyridge Vineyard

23319760225_005ad109d0_kFallen Angel tasting $7 for 3 glasses

This time, I decide to try the wine without reading the descriptions beforehand.

  1. Methode Traditonelle

It’s so refreshing and crisp, like biting in to an apple, but it’s a bottle of wine. Maybe there’s some peach in there too? (I check later and I’m pleased to say I was right about the peaches.)

The surroundings here are so beautiful, with rolling hills as far as you can see, and the gentle sound of birds trilling. To my left there’s a guy clearly trying to impress his date with his knowledge on wine. Feeling very single, I drink more wine.

2. Sauvignon Blanc


(It was actually passion fruit and lychee, whoops.)

It has a wonderful citrus taste. Too quickly, I’ve finished the glass. I find myself wanting to order a bottle. Best not. My budget and liver probably can’t afford to.

I feel like I could be perceived as a 40-year-old going through a divorce and making the most of being an independent woman away from her kids.


3. Riesling

It tastes like sawdust and cleaning product. I probably won’t find that in the wine description.

I’ve just checked – honeysuckle and citrus blossom my arse. My face puckers whenever I take a sip and I quickly drink it so I get this glass over and done with. Not cool, Riesling, not cool.

I take a moment to admire the spectacular scenery before moving on.


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Te Motu

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Wine tasting $20 for 5 tasting glasses.

  1. Rosé 2015

The lady is telling me about the grapes. Look interested, mmm with interest, look as if you know what you’re doing.
“I used to work in a French restaurant.” I will probably say.
I did not expect a guide to each wine. All I can comment on this one is it’s quite sweet. I’ll have to think of a better comment when she’s back.

I’m eyeing up the cheeseboard, feeling peckish, but have to tell myself off, $22, no can do on top of the wine.

I am definitely feeling the few drinks.

2. The Strip 2013

I swill the glass and I think I recognise the characteristics of a good wine, it kind of sticks to the glass? Also I smell it, the first time I’ve done this for my tastings. Oops. It smells kind of smokey. I read it’s a savoury wine and I find myself agreeing with the description.

I probably should have started a rating system. Too late now, more wine please.

The menu is telling me which wine cellars well. I get the feeling a wine cellar wouldn’t end well for me. I’d see it as more of a challenge rather than storage.

3. Syrah 2013

Again, smokey, which I surprisingly like. I’m getting the fruity flavours too, though I wouldn’t have guessed blackcurrant. It’s currently just me sitting out here.

Do I look like an alcoholic?


I hold the glass by the stem, confident this is right. Do I look like I know what I’m doing?

Probably not.

4. Merlot 2012

It’s for “early and easy drinking enjoyment.” Let’s see. I swill. I smell. I taste. It’s not a particular stand out wine for me. I’d describe it with an noncommittal hand gesture, paired with an “ehhh.”

5. M14102449_10155215019767222_4325116105891113252_nerlot 2005

“I’ve never had a wine as old as this,” I say to the lady.
“Not many people have. We hold back the wine like the French.”
“How exciting,” I say, at a loss as to what to say. At least I don’t bring up the French restaurant.

Oh my God. it tastes so good. It is so smooth and velvety. I actually close my eyes to drink it so I can focus on my taste sense. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed red wine this much.  Holy Jesus.  I could happily drink a bottle or two of this stuff.

I feel like a pirate would drink this after stealing it from some Tory-esque sailor merchant ship.

* * *

That was the last thing I wrote, I then had to get a bus to make my way back to my hostel. 


3 thoughts on “Waiheke Island

  1. Pingback: Wellington | The Little Sail Boat

  2. I thought I was the only one who went wine tasting alone! Thanks for making me feel better about that. I live in Napa Valley so lots of chances to taste – 500 wineries, so little time! I envy your prices. Yesterday I did a $50 tasting, $40 is average and the really cheap places are $25 per tasting. You may want to check out my California wine country blog: http://www.topochinesvino.com. Follow if you like what you see.

  3. Pingback: Martinborough | The Little Sail Boat

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