Winemaker, Michael Brajkovich MW, is world famous for his elegant, powerful chardonnay, but despite that success he has harboured a desire to make a serious sparkling wine since graduating in oenology from Roseworthy College.
Gisborne calls itself ‘the chardonnay capital of New Zealand’. Spade Oak owner/winemaker Steve Voysey has probably made more sparkling wine than any other local winemaker so it’s logical that he should include a 100 per cent chardonnay fizz on the list when he started his own winery.
Black Barn is a one-stop shop for visitors to the Bay. They own 17 classy cottages in great locations around Hawke’s Bay from an eight-bedroom luxury retreat to a two-bedroom turn-of-the-century cottage in the heart of their vineyard. They also have one of the best winery restaurants in the region. Oh, and did I mention that they make a very classy sparkling wine?
Margrain offers great vineyard accommodation with 15 well-equipped, modern villas with views across farmland to the distant hills. I find sipping on a glass of wine as I gaze out over grazing sheep curiously relaxing.
Daniel le Brun’s family had been making Champagne for 12 generations before he met his future wife, Adele, and moved to Marlborough to continue producing bottle-fermented fizz on the other side of the world. He was New Zealand’s first, and for a long time, only, sparkling wine producer. No.1 Family is the only Marlborough winery specialising in producing premium Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling wine.
Mahana is one of Nelson’s ‘must visit’ wineries. The owner is a keen collector of fine art. His vineyard is decorated with impressive sculptures that encourage a stroll through the vines. Their restaurant, Mahana Kitchen, offers lunch during weekdays and brunch on the weekend. There are winery tours Monday to Friday at 11am and 2pm or you can buy a wine and lunch package for $85 per person, which includes a wine tasting, tour, a two-course lunch with a glass of wine, tea or coffee to finish.
Alan McCorkindale bought his limestone-laced hillside vineyard in Waipara because he thought it was the ideal spot to produce high-quality sparkling wine. His faith in the site was confirmed when a famous French vineyard soil expert said that the Waipara limestone was the same age and chemical structure as limestone found in Champagne vineyards.
I feel slightly nervous whenever I open a bottle of Quartz Reef fizz. When I uncorked the 2009 vintage half the contents splashed into my laptop and destroyed it. Very traumatic.