Hawke’s Bay’s Best Summer Bars and Wineries
Hawke’s Bay is the sun-drenched region of New Zealand located on the east coast of the North Island. The region is home to one of the highest concentrations of Art Deco architecture to be found anywhere in the world. Hawke’s Bay is also the oldest, best established and second largest wine-producing region in the country. So it’s no surprise that this summer destination has an abundance of great outdoor beer gardens, wineries and bars to enjoy in the heat of the day. Your hardest decision will be where you chose to spend the day… so here’s a helping hand to get you started. Check out our recommendations below:
Best Cider summer spots in Hawke’s Bay
Hawke’s Bay is king of the apple, responsible for almost 70% of NZ’s apple exports and it’s no surprise that Hawke’s Bay has some of the best Cideries in New Zealand. Some of the very best ciders to try in Hawke’s Bay are made with non traditional cider apples so make sure you get your hands on some of the local ciders made in a ‘Kiwi Style’.
Three Wise Birds
Owners Jack and Charley Crasborn were destined to start making cider in Hawke’s Bay. Anyone local will instantly associate the brother’s last name, Crasborn as synonymous with the apple industry. The Crasborn family have long been big players exporting quality apples from the Hawke’s Bay. In fact the name Three Wise Birds is a nod from the brothers to the older generation who established the family business. The Three Wise Birds garden bar is a new local hangout. Opening its doors in the summer of early 2019 with live music, plenty of outdoor seating and their famous Ciders & Sliders offers every Thursday. The garden bar is located amongst the family apple trees and features seasonal ciders on the tap, local craft beers and wines and constantly hosts some of the best live musicians going around the bay.
Originally Zeffer was established in Matakana, north of Auckland, in 2008. Zeffer have been sourcing their apples from Hawke’s Bay for years. And with the success and growth of the brand (NZ’s most awarded cider) the team decided to relocate to ‘the Bay’ so they could be closer to the fruit responsible for their success. The Zeffer tap room is located 10 minutes south of Napier in a former winery cellar door. The tap room is a great place to sample some of the amazing limited ciders and special releases in a tasting tray. There isn’t any indoor seating but there is plenty of outdoor tables so make sure you chose a nice sunny day. All of the ciders are top notch but definitely give the Apple Crumble infused cider a try! Yep, it is as good as it sounds.
Best Craft Beer bars in Hawke’s Bay
Hawke’s Bay’s most underrated player in its world class food and drinks offering would have to be local craft beer!
From some of the early pioneers such as Hawke’s Bay Brewing Co to the smaller players batch brewing specialists Napier Brewing Co. – which also happens to be located in the craft beer meca, The Westshore Beach Inn. Here’s a local tip… everyone who loves fresh local craft beer should visit the Westshore while visiting Napier.
Some of the local breweries take inspiration from the ‘old world’ such as the German influenced Zeelandt Brewery while the others throw caution to the wind and produce local beers with no constraints to traditional styles. Either way, the one theme that stays true is the quest to serve fresh beer to the Hawke’s Bay community.
Unlike winery cellar doors that have to be close to their vines (usually), the Hawke’s Bay breweries can be found all over the region – In the scenic countryside, in local pubs and you can even find one in the most iconic Art Deco building in Napier. That’s why joining a Craft Beer tour is a great option.
With Bay Tours, a HB beer expert will transport you between breweries with local insights without the worry of drink driving plus if you want we can drop you off at the Westshore for dinner & a pint! You can book your tour here.
Read about two of the breweries we visit on the Craft Beer Tour and find out why we recommend a visit below:
Beer for the people, located in the “Stings” that’s local slang for Hastings, the regions’ largest city, which can often be overlooked for great places to eat and drink. Brave Brewery is not a place that should be overlooked. If you only visit one brewery while in Hawke’s Bay it should be Brave. Brave is located a little off the beaten track in the semi industrial Warren Street which, thanks to the enormous local following, hasn’t had the slightest impact on its success.
The tasting room is minimalist and modern, the beers are local, crisp and refreshing and the kitchen presents a range of sides that perfectly compliment the beers. You will find a range of Braves’ own beers on tap as well as a few guest beers from around the region and country. For the non-beer drinkers among us there are local wines and non-alcoholic options.
Brave without a doubt champions that local, fresh beer is the best kind of beer and we are totally onboard! Try the Tigermilk IPA a real local cult classic.
A visit to this stunning rural destination will reward intrepid explorers with both a wonderfully picturesque 30 minute drive from Napier (or 20 minutes from Hastings) and superbly crafted beers tasted in very congenial surroundings. Even better, if you’re visiting in the weekend there’s the option to join the Craft Beer tour so nobody has to miss out – get your tickets here.
GodsOwn is a truly unique experience in the Hawke’s Bay countryside. The complex is a sight to be seen, featuring a 1970s caravan bar, a safari style dining tent and the first hop farm in the North Island of New Zealand. The brew pub focuses on producing seasonal beers and ales and great pub grub in a relaxed environment. You will meet plenty of locals who are always up for a chat. This is the perfect spot to sit back, relax and enjoy the Hawke’s Bay sun. In the summer we recommend a pint of Prophecy Pilsner to wash down a beef brisket burger.
The Top Hawke’s Bay wineries for summer
Hawke’s Bay is the oldest wine region in New Zealand and best known for being home to premium wines and some of the best winery restaurants in the whole country. Hawke’s Bay wineries produce a number of different varieties exceptionally well including summer favourites – New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and rosé – not to mention stunning reds.
So what happens when you combine the best wine & produce with the scorching summer temperatures? Must visit summer Wineries!
Mission Estate Winery
First up is one of the most accessible wineries in the region. The Mission Estate is the oldest winery in New Zealand and the Victorian former Catholic seminary which houses both the cellar door and restaurant, is perched up the hill overlooking Taradale and Napier. It is just a short drive from the Napier CBD and has one of the best winery garden restaurants making it a local favourite.
The history of the winery is proudly displayed throughout the cellar door but because of how popular the winery is (2nd most visitors of any winery in New Zealand) wine tastings are from the cellar door bar. Don’t let that stop you from visiting the Mission. We recommend tasting wine at the cellar door then finding some outdoor seating at the Mission Estate restaurant to settle in for a glass of wine and a locally sourced tasting board in the tranquil surroundings.
Dan and Kaylea Barker from Moana Park have always been about producing the very best wines possible, with minimal intervention using natural winemaking techniques. No surprise then that the cellar door is a no-nonsense typical kiwi tasting experience. Guided wine tastings are seated at your tableside and are often with winemaker Dan himself. Their delicious kitchen offerings continue to expand and during the weekends Moana Park often hosts live bands and has local food trucks at the winery so you can dance, drink and eat your way into the evening.
Viognier fans, this is the place for you. If you haven’t heard of Viognier or have never tasted this variety before Moana Park is the place to give it a go! They won best Viognier in the world at the most prestigious wine competitions – London’s Decanter Wine Awards.
If fine dining with finer wines and spectacular views is your thing then a trip to their winery in the Tuki Tuki Valley is a must. Craggy Range is so spectacularly breath-taking that it was voted the 11th best cellar door in the world. Take one look at the views over the Tuki Tuki Valley to the east and magnificent Te Mata Peak, to the west, and you’ll realise why. The restaurant menu is seasonal with a French provincial influence and designed to compliment the Craggy Range wines. A must try is the Aroha Pinot Noir matched with Hawke’s Bay lamb.
Clearview Estate winery
For visitors staying in coastal Hawke’s Bay near Te Awanga or Havelock North a trip to Clearview Estate is recommended. The space is relaxed and rustic, typical of the beach vibes of Te Awanga. The ‘red shed’ at Clearview Estate prides itself on its kiwi hospitality and has been a local hangout since it opened in 1986. Clearview Estate is a great spot to play some petanque with the kids, drink stunning Hawke’s Bay wine and enjoy Mediterranean style dining near the beach.
One of the biggest characters in the Hawke’s Bay wine industry is Co-founder Tim Turvey. Tim is responsible for crafting some of the finest chardonnay made in New Zealand and it would be unthinkable to visit Clearview Estate without trying the legendary Reserve Chardonnay.
Ash Ridge winery located in the Bridge Pa Triangle in the heart of wine country. Situated on part of the same old river bed as its more famous neighbouring sub-region, Gimblett Gravels, the Bridge Pa Triangle is arguably producing a wider range of high-class wine styles than the Gravels. Ash Ridge is a family owned boutique winery creating stunning wines that speak of place with finesse.
Winemaker Lauren Swift quickly made a mark in Hawke’s Bay and nationally being named New Zealand Young Winemaker Of The Year in 2015. And Ash Ridge have made every post a winner with multiple awards across their range. Their interpretation of classic Hawke’s Bay varieties like chardonnay, viognier, merlot and syrah are amongst the regions’ best. Their cellar door is light and airy inside with plenty of shading from trees and sail cloth outside. And you’ll need shade in the searing Hawke’s Bay sun. Order a charcuterie platter and enjoy a glass of Ash Ridge Rose amongst the vines. Magic moments!
Summer in Hawke’s Bay is about enjoying the natural bounty of our abundant harvests and vintages and experiencing some of the best cider, craft beer and wine New Zealand has to offer. Make sure, if you’re planning a visit to New Zealand, that this stunning region is on your itinerary. And if you’re a Kiwi don’t miss a weekend in Hawke’s Bay. You’ll have never had it so good!
All Wine, Beer & Cider tours can be booked directly online here or email firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a custom tour of the region.