Our first choice for the day, Mahurangi River, was not open due to a private function, so we headed to Brick Bay. This is quite the site, with sculptures, gardens, sheep and a very modern building all in one. We started at the restaurant where we enjoyed a quick wine tasting, then decided to share a glass of rose on their pond-facing patio. While enjoying the view of the pond the weather cleared up, so we decided to pay for the sculpture garden walk. At $12USD/pp it took us about 90 minutes and offered some lovely views and creative pieces.
Our second stop, Omaha Bay Vineyards, started out fine. We enjoyed the tasting, and after seeing the nice deck, ordered two glasses (cab franc / chardonnay) to enjoy the weather and view. However, when we went to pay she charged us $10 per tasting in addition to the glasses. We countered that we split a tasting since Eric had the whites and I had the reds but she said we had more than five wines each so it was two tastings. No mention was made at any point of a charge for tastings and nothing was printed on the tasting list – I found this dishonest and it spoiled our otherwise good time here. Definitely wouldn’t go back or recommend this vineyard based on our experience.
Our third winery of the day, Ransom Wines, offered a nice tasting. All the wines were estate fruit and Eric found the whites to be especially interesting. We left with a bottle of the Cosmos Chardonnay.
We decided to make a stop at Tahi Bar for a quick drink before heading back to Auckland — I had the English Breakfast cider and Eric had the Farmhouse Pale Ale. Their tap was also one of the most unique we’ve ever experienced!
A brief rainstorm pushed us inside where there wasn’t much space, but it was a good final stop on our daytrip.