Just 35 minutes by ferry from Downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island has become known as New Zealand’s ‘Island of Wine’ – home to a dedicated group of award-winning winegrowers who have successfully matched the unique maritime climate and ancient soil structures to the selection of classical grape varieties in order to produce red and white wines with distinctive varietal character.
With a total planted area of just 216 hectares divided among 30 growers, wine production is small and top vintages are keenly awaited with labels such as Goldwater Estate, Stonyridge Larose, Passage Rock and Cable Bay having an international following and most small producers having a loyal mail order clientele.
Waiheke is also the ‘Island of wine tourism’, attracting up to 800,000 visitors a year and providing the main economic driver for the island’s 8,000 permanent residents.
In the November to March summer months, when the vines are in full leaf, the resident population swells to 40,000 and the restaurants, cafes and art galleries do a roaring business.
Membership of The Waiheke Winegrowers Association Inc (WWA) binds the island’s producers to a commitment to sustainable vineyard practice and high quality winemaking standards. Members’ interests are managed by an Executive Committee elected each year from within the membership.