Hawke’s Bay

Wine of the Week

Since daylight savings kicked in here, the weather has turned.  It became winter, suddenly, overnight.  Inevitably with the darkness, rain and southerlies battering Wellington, the craving for curling up on the sofa indoors with a nice bottle of red has replaced my long and wonderful summer filled with Kiwi Savs.

Wine of the week I am enjoying this week is from a wonderful vineyard I visited in Hawke’s Bay a while back called Abbey Cellars.  I’ll always remember this vineyard as upon its approach we admired the architecture of the building and I asked the owner when they decided to convert the church into their home/vineyard.  She smiled and said ‘New Zealand’s not that old’.  I guess we are so used to converted churches in the UK that I didn’t think that a property build would be approached the other way round.  The owners love and appreciation of churches and old buildings brought about through their travels led them to create a building that is a unique interpretation of a gothic abbey.  It is a beautiful site to behold.

The wines are equally stunning and I am enjoying their 2009 ‘Rapture’ Merlot this week.  It won the Silver award at the Royal Easter Show Wine awards 2011 and is recommended by WineEstate magazine.  A perfect match for a fillet steak and mushrooms.



Cellar Door:
1769 Maraekakaho Road
Hastings 4171, New ZealandSummer Hours:
Daily – 11:00am until 5:00pm
Large groups and tours by appointment please.
Postal Address:
PO Box 8115
Havelock North 4157, New ZealandPhone: +64 6 879 6171
Fax: +64 6 824 3168
Email:  sales@abbeycellars.com

Sileni Vineyard Hawke’s Bay

Sileni is an absolute must visit if you are in the Hawke’s Bay area.  You will know you have arrived by the grand entrance to the vineyard, it’s a very impressive long driveway!  The actual estate Sileni, is named after the Sileni who featured in Roman mythology alongside Bacchus, the god of wine.

Of course the wine tasting at Sileni was excellent but what really caught my eye was the temperature controlled cheese room stocked with an impressive selection of cheeses.  There is a vast array of gourmet foods to purchase from their shop, this is definitely a stop for all food lovers.  The store offers lovely hampers, food items and gifts for those looking to stock up on some presents for those back home.

Those interested in touring the vineyard can book a vineyard and wine tasting tour, there is also a cheese and wine tasting option available and even an option to tour the Village Press where you can taste the award winning olive oils paired with the gorgeous Sileni wines.

This vineyard has something for everyone, which is probably why it was voted ‘Cellar Door of the Year’ in 2012.  We left with a beautiful bottle of Syrah for ourselves and some chocolates for those back home.  A superb experience with a wonderful selection of wines.

Sileni Estates

2016 Maraekakaho Road
RD1, Hastings
PO Box 2234
Stortford Lodge
Phone: +64 6 879 8768
Fax: +64 6 879 7187
  • Open 7 days a week from 10am to 5pm during Summer (Oct – Apr)
  • Open 5 days a week from 10am to 4pm during Winter (May – Sept)
  • Open over Easter Weekend 10am – 5pm
  • Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day




Alpha Domus Vineyard Hawke’s Bay

About half way through our cycle of the Bridge Pa Triangle in Hawke’s Bay we came across Alpha Domus vineyard, nestled in the vicinity of an historic airfield.  The grounds were home to the training of many Air New Zealand pilots throughout history, hence prominence of the aircraft depicted on the vineyards label.  Established in 1995 by the Ham family, originally emigrated from Holland, Alpha Domus released their first wines to the market in 1996.

I have to credit Alpha Domus Vineyard with having one of the best cellar doors we have been to.  The host was so informative and we tried lots of new wines that we were really impressed with.  Our absolute favourites were the Viognier ‘The Wingwalker’ 2010 which we purchased and the ‘Barnstormer’ Syrah.

Now, every time I enjoy a bottle of Viognier I am transported back to our chalet in Lake Taupo where we enjoyed the bottle we purchased from the cellar door whilst watching the most incredible sunset on the horizon.

Alpha Domus Ltd.
1829 Maraekakaho Road
Hawke’s Bay
Phone: +64 6 879 6752
Fax: +64 6 879 6952

Summer Hours
Open 7 days  – 10.00am until 5.00pm (1 September to the first weekend in June). Closed Christmas and Boxing days,
Good Friday and Easter Sunday  and ANZAC day.
Winter Hours
Large groups and tours by appointment.
Service Fee for Wine Tasting of $5.00 per person, 1 service fee refunded on each bottle purchased. 

Hawke’s Bay ‘On Yer Bike’ Wine Tours

Exploring the Hawke’s Bay wine region of New Zealand is no mean feat.  There are so many outstanding vineyards in this area, that we decided to focus the day on what is known as the ‘Bridge Pa Triangle’ and hire bicycles through a great company called ‘On Yer Bike’.

We had a bit of trouble finding our accommodation and the first vineyard on the stop, this was the first and only time we got lost in New Zealand! But all of our hosts were very gracious in waiting for us despite us turning up over an hour late.

Our first stop on the vineyard tour was The Ash Ridge Vineyard where we were whisked outside for a spot of wine tasting before being set up with our bikes, our packed lunches and a map of all the local vineyards.

You start the tour at Ash Ridge Wines from where you can cycle to Sileni Estate, Alpha Domus, Abbey Cellars, Triangle Cellars, Ngatarawa Estate, Salvare, Trinity Hill and Te Awa. This makes up around a 20Km circuit and you can comfortably do it in around 4-5 hours depending on how long you stay for tasting wine at each winery. Alternatively you can cycle the shorter route of Ngatarawa Road and cover 6 out of the 9 wineries.

The advantages of hiring bicycles from On Yer Bike are that they offer roadside assistance all day long if you have any problems, find you are too tired to cycle back or end up buying so much wine you simply can’t carry it on your bike, they are there to help!

The lunch we were provided with was absolutely delicious and very substantial.  For me, cycle hire is by far the best way to enjoy the beautiful countryside of these stunning vineyards and I can’t recommend On Yer Bike enough, it’s one of the best days out I’ve had in New Zealand.


2543 State Highway 50, Hastings, Hawkes Bay

Tel: (06) 650 4627
Email: info@onyerbikehb.co.nz

Wineries included on the cycle tour are: