Last month, my husband and I took a whirlwind four-night trip to Auckland and the North Island . On our second day, we did the Vineyards, Honey and Black Sand Beaches tour with John McFarland of NZ Wine Pro.
My husband and I love wine and have traveled all over the world visiting wineries and vineyards. We know what we like and like to seek out the best experience no matter where we are. So happy that we picked NZ Wine Pro! It was also wonderful that we were able to see so much in one afternoon with a lovely, small group.
We knew that we wanted to visit the historic Kumeu River Winery as they had recently received some big ratings from Robert Parker. Email communication with John was topnotch and he confirmed that we definitely would be visiting Kumeu River Winery.
Next we tried the wines at the family-owned Sojans Estate while we waited for our lunch to be made at the winery's Vineyard Cafe. Delicious food (I had the filet mignon) in a beautiful alfresco setting. We also did a tasting of native honeys, which was quite fun and educational.
After lunch, we made a side trip through the beautiful traditional rolling sheep and cattle country to visit Muriwai black sand beach and remaining gannets nesting over the rocky outcrops. It was a gorgeous day and John also gave each of us a little bottle of black sand.
Finally, we visited West Brook Wines walking through the vineyards and tasting Pinot Noir grapes among other things. The winery is one of New Zealand's oldest and most respected boutique wineries and the setting was beautiful.
Enjoyed our day very much and would definitely book NZWine Pro again and highly recommend to others. Pick up was on time and we enjoyed a later start than other tours - 11:30 a.m., which was nice considering we were getting up the next morning at 5 a.m. for another tour. John is extremely knowledgeable about wine and other topics and we enjoyed talking with him.
We also enjoyed chatting with the other ladies on our trip. Ironically, we ended up running into two of them at the Waiheke ferry terminal! And you know what? They had already referred some people to John!
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