Wine and dine your way through New Zealand with these magnificent locations: here is No. 25 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
You’ve heard all about Marlborough’s world-renowned examples of sauvignon blanc, and the sublime pinot noir wines crafted amid the rocky, hardworking soils of Central Otago, but the warmer Bay of Islands on the north-eastern coast of the North Island/Te Ika-a-Māui could be the wine-making region to surprise even the most informed of travelling wine fans. Especially when wines coaxed from coastal hillside vineyards enlivened by sea breezes can be partnered with fine dining and ocean views.
Overlooking the Bay of Islands east of the historic town of Russell, Paroa Bay Winery’s boutique 24-hectare estate features just five hectares of vines, a compact and concentrated vineyard producing handcrafted and handpicked wines including ‘CMC’, a balanced 2015 blend of cabernet franc, merlot and cabernet sauvignon.
At Sage, Paroa Bay’s restaurant, there’s a corresponding focus on local, seasonal and sustainable, and the menu is inspired by the dual Māori concepts of moana (ocean) and whenua (land). Many ingredients are sourced from the estate’s own gardens or from around the Bay of Islands, including oysters from the clear waters of Orongo Bay and citrus fruit from nearby Kerikeri. Partner the crayfish risotto or kingfish crudo with the 2018 Paroa Bay Chardonnay and, when the sun’s shining on nearby islets, the Mediterranean flavours of the menu will make perfect sense.
If you’re keen to experience Paroa Bay with friends or family, vineyard cottages and coastal villas all combine unparalleled privacy, exclusive swimming pools and stellar Bay of Islands views.