Location: Napier NZ

When I first visited New Zealand I discovered the local wine industry. It is a small but very good industry. According to our guide today, New Zealand produces ½ of 1% of the total world wine production. A grocery store chain in England sells more wines itself than all of New Zealand produces.

So, it is not surprising that much of the wine that is produced in New Zealand is consumed in New Zealand and the rest is exported to countries like China (a large growing wine market). So, it is really a joy to be able to sample some of the local wines, many of which you cannot get in the States (although New Zealand wine is available, it is sometimes difficult to find – at least the better years and labels).

Today I did a tour of four wineries, Mission Bay, Te Awa, Moana Park, and Salvare. Dr. Mills and four students were along for the trip. Ten other students went on different wine tours. The feedback is that everyone enjoyed the experience.

At each winery, we were able to try six to seven different wines, normally three whites, three reds, and a dessert wine. Never been much into dessert wines but did try several really good ones. One of the things I like about the New Zealand wine industry is that they seem willing to experiment. In much of the world they have been producing the same wines for hundreds of years and unless 

Mona Park

there is a disaster there is little desire to change. The vintners in New Zealand seem willing to try new things. They are the ones that really pushed the blending of red wines (something I really like), mixing oak and stainless barrels to create different chardonnay flavors.

Moana Park is one of the newest wineries in the Hawkes Bay area.  The first vintage was produced in 2003.  Originally intended as a boutique winery with primary revenue generated from cellar door sales.  However, the demand for the wine produced by Moana park lead to an expansion with the 2013 vintage.

Moana Park is the only certified vegetarian and organic winery in the Southern Hemisphere. This means that they use no meat products in wine production (egg whites and other additives are frequently used for filtering, flavoring, and other parts of the wine making process) and avoid heavy metal fertilizers and other toxic materials in the production of their wine.

Te Awa

Moana Park winery is a good example of lack of availability. You can find this wine in upscale eating establishments and boutique wine stores in New Zealand and as an export to china.

Mission Estate was established by Marist Missionaries in Hawke's Bay in 1851, where vines were planted to produce both sacramental and table wine and New Zealand's first winery was born. The first record of a commercial sale dates back to 1870 when a parcel of mostly dry reds was sold.

Salvare

 

 

 

Te Awa is a winery on the Gimblett Flats area of Hawkes Bay.  The Gimblett Flats is an old river bed that for many years was treated as poor farm and grazing land and primarily used as a gravel pit and a go-kart track.  It was not until 1987 that the first vintage was produced.

Te Awa is one of the wineries on the flats.  The full Maori name given to the site is Te Awa o Te Atua which means 'River of God', a reference to the mysterious subterranean streams over which the vineyards are situated and from which the wines draw their exquisite, yet subtle characteristics. T

he quality comes from the free draining soil which consistently produces high quality fruit.

Salvare Estate is a 15 acre Chardonnay vineyard located on Ngatarawa Road in Hawkes Bay. To broaden their range they also source quality fruit from other Hawkes Bay growing areas such as Puketapu and Gimblett Road, “This way we get the best of both worlds” says Steve. 

Mission Estate Winery

Since the first vintage in 2007 every style of wine that Salvare produces has been awarded a medal. In 2010 the range was extended to include Salvation Chardonnay and Salvation Hawkes Bay Red Blend. These wines are designed to be for longer term cellaring whilst retaining the signature elegance of all Salvare Estate wines.

Salvare Estate also produces two olive oils, a Picual and a Barnea grown locally in the Puketapu valley. To complement the oils a range of dukkahs is also produced ( Egyptian, Hot and Spicy and Dukkah Buttah - a spreadable version of Dukkah unique to Salvare Estate).The range of food products also extends to mustard and vinaigrettes, with everything available to taste at the cellar door.

For those looking for good wines, try New Zealand. The 2012 vintage should be really good a

s it was a hot, dry year. Vintners use an old adage: if the farmers cry, the vintners cheer. In 2012 they cheered loudly.

 

Location:  Rotorua, NZ

On the road again.  Today was transition day from Rotorua to Napier.  I was here with the 2010 group and really enjoyed the experience.  We decided to cut the Napier stop in 2011 to save costs.  This year, since I have no responsibilities here whatsoever, Melanie and Leigh decided to add the trip back into the itinerary. 

 

They also made several other changes in the schedule including a day less in Auckland and a day more in Queenstown and Rotorua.  I think that what happened is a great example of the law of unintended consequences.  I believe that most students have a finite amount of money to spend on the trip and they will allocate the trip based upon their personal interests and to maximize their benefit.  The instructors want students to focus on those experiences that maximize cultural experiences.  The additional days in Rotorua and Queenstown provide  students with more time to spend in experiential, "fun", and/or thrill seeking things to do.  The result is a shift in the activity list to less faculty desired cultural experiences.  This translates into fewer students doing the wine tour when the reason for coming to Napier was for the wine tour. 

Given that situation, I am still planning to go on the wine tour tomorrow.  I really am looking forward to seeing the wineries and trying the wine.  It is too bad that it is so expensive to ship wines home and too much of a hassle to cary them with you.  So,  I will do what I did last time, purchase a few bottles to enjoy on the trip and make notes in an effort to find the wines at home when I get back. 

Our first bus driver really needs to learn better driving skills.  I don't mind the waving side-to-side of the bus, that is a result of the road grades and the many (many, many, many) did I say many curves.  It was the constant running over the rumble strips on the side of the road and the really bad shifting and breaking patterns.  I do not understand why it takes three major compressions of the brakes to slow the bus down at each intersection.  The result (as you know from the Newton's first law of motion, that an object in motion says in motion) was that you were pushed out of your seat each time the brakes were touched.  

Shifting was an experience in shaking, rattling, and rolling.  Either the clutch was touchy, the driver did not have enough experience with a manual transmission, or he was in a bad mood as starting was a shaky experience and it seemed that every time he downshifted on a hill also.  

Today's trip along highway 5 (Thermal Explorer Highway) through what is known as the Mountain Valley.  The valley was beautiful.  Mile after mile of steep mountains, crystal clear streams, deep valleys, and curve after curve as the highway followed the stream curves.  For those that get car sick, this was a real test of the stomach. I spent the day watching the scenery rather than trying to take pictures.  Pictures from a moving bus are difficult and I learned from past experience that pictures in this area without stopping at a lookout do not capture what you see.  The deep valleys and very close mountain makes the picture small as you capture a side of the mountain not the beautiful vista before you.  The two things that I wished for today were that I brought my wide angle lens and that we had a chance to stop for pictures.  

This area also has a high concentration of the timber industry.  With mile after mile of controlled timber production.  The major change for me was the number of timber areas that had been harvested since last time.  It was really a different drive.  Last time we were going through lush green California Pine forests.   This time we were going through miles of bare mountain tops many of which had been replanted but it would take 20 years to get back to the look from before.  

Hare ra

K RoadWe walked up K Road across the Grafton Bridge and on to the Dominion (for those that are wondering, that is 1.3 miles, Leigh actually looked it up).·The Dominion is the home of Wintergarden and the Auckland Museum (and war memorial). ·Wintergarden is a biological garden and is famous as a wedding location. ·The museum is a really good start for students as it provides excellent overviews of the history of New Zealand, the environment, and the culture (mostly third, second, and first floors in order). ·When I first started planning the trip, I thought that the Auckland Museum would be a great place to start. ·Tired from a long flight, the pace of the museum would provide students with a relaxed atmosphere to explore much about the country. ·The original plan was to spend the afternoon at the museum providing enough time for exploring and journal writing. ·Well, we certainly did not spend that amount of time this time.·

Today was the Queen's Birthday as celebrated in New Zealand. ·The Queen's actual birthday is April 21st. ·I wonder why we celebrate the Queen's Birthday on June 3rd when it is April 21st. ·I sure there is some reason for it but it escapes me. ·Anyway, most of the stores and restaurants are closed. ·We could do window shopping but not much else (at least along the roads that I walked). ·

When I got back, I did what we told all the students to avoid, I fell asleep. ·I did not plan too, I just wanted to get off my feet for a few moments and the next thing I knew, it was 6 pm. ·

Tonight was a open night for food. ·Everyone was on their own to find a place to each. ·We did this because we wanted to get people out and about. ·Auckland is one of the most diverse cities in the world. ·It is the largest Polynesian city in the world. ·It has 1.377 million inhabitants out of New Zealand’s total population of 4.4 million. (for those who like match, that is 31% of the population. ·Just in the block from the hostel there are 3 Korean, 1 French, 1 Japanese, 1 steak, and several mixed restaurants. ·

Melanie, Leigh, and I went to the steak place. ·It was very good and inexpensive for what we got. ·

Food is one of those items that I think will be interesting to observe on this trip. ·But more on that later.·

It is 3 am NZ time.  I think I will try to get a few more hours sleep.  Until later.