Last Friday, Waitangi Day, we decided to head out towards Taihape, along picturesque country roads bound for de la terre winery, a 20 minutes drive from Hastings.
‘de la terre’ literally translates as ‘of the earth’. As we pulled into the car park, with horses in the front paddock and Gracie the dog bounding out to meet us, the name seemed so apt - a perfect reference to the earth brick constructed winery and cellar door, and the fruits of the vineyard’s soil.
Interestingly, the buildings are less than 10 years old but look like they have been part of the landscape for much longer. The craftsmanship and detail are incredible, from the mud bricks, handmade in Tony’s onsite rammed earth workshop to the handcrafted furniture made from recycled timber - virtually all the building work including roof tiling and joinery was done by the owners, Kaye and Tony Prichard.
We discovered that Tony the builder, is also Tony the winemaker, with more than 30 years wine making experience. De la terre was established in 2005 as a boutique winery and while the grapes are grown at Hills Estate, Kaye and Tony’s vision was to create somewhere to share their love of wine and wine making - their passion for wine and sustainability is very evident. Providing an opportunity for guests to not only enjoy wine tastings but to also learn about their wine making techniques - some might even be lucky enough to taste the next vintage straight out of the barrel.
With a cafe open since December 2014, delicious farm-style platters are available for guests to enjoy with wine either inside or under umbrellas out in the garden. Armed with a bottle of de la terre rosé from the tasting room, this partnered perfectly with a platter crammed with salads, marinated mushrooms, ham, brie, and a delicious homemade cranberry and cardamom relish - and not forgetting the freshly baked bread rolls.
De la terre winery is open 10am – 5pm weekends and public holidays 1 September – 30 June or by appointment. It is a boutique winery and some varietals only produce 1500 bottles each vintage, with much sold offshore to clients in China and USA. To purchase their wine in New Zealand or for more information: de la terre winery
It’s definitely a winery worth the drive, whether you are a visitor or a Hawke's Bay local.