Wine – Extending the wine experience

Many of the Matakana wine growers focus on selling their wines directly to the public or through local restaurants and venues. As one of New Zealand’s smallest wine regions, the volumes that we produce make it difficult to supply large retail outlets – instead, the focus is on building direct relationships with customers.

Cellar doors and winery restaurants are a key component of this. They are access points for wineries to interact with their customers, sell their wines, tell their stories and, likewise, for customers to discover and enjoy some of our region’s best wines, dining and unique experiences such as the art/sculpture trails.

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (cellar door tasting) Amendment Bill, which reached Royal Assent on August 30, will remove a lot of legislative red tape around the ability of wine growers to operate cellar doors, recognising that cellar doors are in the lowest risk category for alcohol sales, respecting that the requirements of host responsibility still hold, and supporting small wineries as valued contributors to the growth of wine tourism in New Zealand. It is heartening to see that this bill attracted broad support across the political divide in Parliament.

The practical outcome of this bill will likely be to encourage more winegrowers to open cellar door facilities and improve the tasting experience that visitors enjoy at existing ones. This is a win-win situation for wineries across the country, and for the visitors – local and tourists alike – who visit them.

While that is positive news, many of our winegrowers are too small to justify their own cellar door facilities. To help provide opportunities for these growers to show and sell their wines, the Matakana Winegrowers Association has been collaborating with several supportive local businesses to create a series of events.

On Sunday, October 29, we will continue our series of wine and film nights at the Matakana Cinemas with the French wine film ‘La Degustation’ (The Tasting). Tickets include tastings of a wide range of Matakana wines and a glass of wine to take into the movie.

At The Vintry in Matakana, a series of themed degustation dinners are being held, pairing four local wines and four international wines of a similar style with delicious small plates from the MMK kitchen.

Upcoming tastings will look at Matakana wines from Italian and Spanish varieties against those from their homelands.

From November through to March, we will be running Friday evening wine and pizza nights at the Matakana Farmers Market, an enjoyable way to unwind and converse over local wines in a relaxed environment.

Visiting our winery cellar doors/restaurants or attending these events are great opportunities to meet and talk to local winegrowers, try their wines, hear their stories and become a part of our wine community. Your local wine growers would love to meet you and share their passion for our region’s distinctive wines.