Day Trips: Brick Bay Vineyard and Sculpture Park

With a steady stream of overseas visitor this summer it’s fantastic there are so many fabulous places to visit within an hour of Auckland.  A long time favourite is Brick Bay Vineyard and Sculpture Park, discovered a few years back when working on a photography assignment.

One sunny Friday late in January we headed north. With a little time on our hands we made a detour to Tawharanui Regional Park.  Admiring Anchor Bay’ sandy beach with its gentle rolling waves, the water looked so inticing.  The midday sun was harsh – sticky and hot as we chastised one another for not throwing our togs and towels in the car.

Anchor Bay

Anchor Bay

It was time to head to Brick Bay Wines, Snells Beach for a late lunch where you can dine in the spectacular glasshouse overlooking the pond or al fresco under the trees in the garden.  There’s even a wine tasting area – The Row if you have time and a pre-designated sober driver.

The Glasshouse

The Glasshouse

View from The Glasshouse

View from The Glasshouse

Wine Tasting - The Row

Wine Tasting - The Row

Take your pick from shared plates or platters, tasty sandwiches and salads, cheeseboards, and tempting desserts.  And if you’re an early bird the brunch menu looks delicious too. But to avoid disappointment, especially on weekends, don’t forget to make a booking online The Glasshouse Kitchen.  And of course it wouldn’t be a vineyard lunch without a glass of two of Brick Bay Wine – we can highly recommend the Cabernet Sauvignon-based Rosé.

Dine al fresco and indulge in a glass of Brick Bay wine

Dine al fresco and indulge in a glass of Brick Bay wine

Spoilt for choice from fresh salads to chill lime squid

Spoilt for choice from fresh salads to chill lime squid

Salted caramel pecan slice or 'guilt free' raspberry, coconut & cashew cheese cake

Salted caramel pecan slice or 'guilt free' raspberry, coconut & cashew cheese cake

For those with energy after a leisurely lunch, Brick Bay Sculpture Park is open 10am – 5pm daily.  Allow 1 hour to walk the 2km trail through native trees and enjoy more than 40 contemporary sculptures by NZ artists, all available for sale. While much of the trail is canopied with native trees, bright yellow sun umbrellas are available to protect you from the rays while walking in the open.

Less than an hour’s drive from downtown Auckland, you’ll find Brick Bay at Arabella Lane, Snells Beach, click here for directions.

If you do get the chance to visit Brick Bay Vineyard and Sculpture Park would love to hear what you think.

Michelle

Review: A Game Of Rhones

Saturday afternoon the wharf was deserted. Walking towards Shed 10 on Queens Wharf, men in black stood at the entrance. Upstairs, the mezzanine with its wide plank floors, exposed rafters and oak barrels the perfect backdrop for a Game Of Rhones – 25 New Zealand, Australian and French producers and more than 70 wines awaited us.

The Barrel Hall

The Barrel Hall

Game of Rhones, a themed wine event already well ensconced in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane, the inaugural Auckland event was a celebration of the classic wine varieties of the Rhone Valley, France – think Shiraz or more commonly known as Syrah in New Zealand, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier and more.

Wine tasting underway

Wine tasting underway

Our challenge along with 350 other social wine drinkers on a wintry Saturday afternoon was to make our way around the barrel hall tasting one wine then the next; casting our vote for “the crowd favourite”. Our booklet provided ample space for notes – the serious tasters scrawling tasting notes, production methods and contact names.  Others simply enjoyed amazing wines, talking to the wine producers and noting both the affordable and more aspirational (price-wise) favourites.

Enjoying a wine or two

Enjoying a wine or two

Costumes were optional.  A few brave ones entered into the spirit while wine producers were whole-heartedly in character.  People were whisked away by maidens for blind tastings.  Other indulged in sumptuous food from Bird on a Wire. Everyone was in great spirits and without a doubt, there would definitely be a few sore heads Sunday morning.

Trinity Hill WInes & friend

Trinity Hill WInes & friend

Man O War - Waiheke men of war

Man O War - Waiheke men of war

Planet Wine - beyond the wall

Planet Wine - beyond the wall

So if wine is your passion then keep your eyes peeled for Bottle Shop Concepts – Pinot Palooza, coming to Auckland 2016.  Love their tagline too, "we take the wank out of wine”.

Cheers

Michelle