Day 26: Havelock North To Gisborne

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Day 26: Wellington to Havelock North

Day 26 started in Havelock North. My aunty gave us some herbs and veggies from her garden. Sadly it wasn’t feijoa season. I love feijoas. Feijoa season in New Zealand is from March to June.

These are tamarillos. They’re usually picked around July or August.

We left Havelock North and headed towards Gisborne.

We drove through Napier where they had a 40km courtesy zone. I’d never seen that before.

Napier’s famous for its art deco buildings. So we looked at the buildings and wondered which ones were art deco. Art deco is an artistic and design style that began in Europe in the 1920s.
Most of the buildings in central Napier were destroyed in an earthquake in 1931 which was around the time that the art deco style was popular.

Just outside of Napier, we stopped to buy some sweetcorn.

A bit further up the road we stopped to watch planes landing at Hawke’s Bay Airport.

This is an Air New Zealand plane. Air New Zealand is New Zealand’s national airline.
See the logo on the end of the plane? That’s a stylized koru. The koru is a shape that you can see a lot in New Zealand art and design. It’s based on an unfurling fern frond.

We stopped briefly at a camping area to stretch our legs. It looked like a nice place to stay.
This is Lake Tutira.

This is one of those Tui billboards I was telling you about. It says: You gotta give those Aussies credit. Yeah right.

In Wairoa we went to the supermarket and then found this nice place to have lunch.

In Gisborne we visited a vineyard and did some wine tasting. This is Wrights Vineyard & Winery.

Geoff Wright started making wine in the year 2000. And I asked him how he got into winemaking.

I was based up in Auckland, and I was working as an accountant. And I was going to a lot of wine clubs and really enjoying wine and just learning about it. So ... my, the profession I was doing, I just wasn’t feeling that inspired or that, sort of, really drawn to it.
And I remember one time, sitting down with my mentor manager and he said, you know, “Have you ever thought of another job, another profession?” And I’d studied, you know, four years and … you know, I was like heart broken. I was like, “What do you mean, another profession?!” And I guess little things like that happened and … and a friend of mine said well why don’t you learn about wine and stuff.
So I left Auckland and I came down to Gisborne and enrolled into the winemaking and viticulture course. And haven’t really returned. And, you know, I didn’t know anyone when I first came down here and I just had my car and a few clothes in the back. And, you know, and loved Gisborne. For me coming from Auckland, it’s so big and diverse and Gisborne is quite … wow, that was neat!
And Gisborne is kind of small and really friendly community so I guess that’s what I really found a connection to. And the lifestyle and the beaches.
Yeah, and then after I did the course, I found out from my mum that my great-great-grandfather was one of the original winemakers up in Kumeu in the 1930s. So in some ways it was running through my blood I never really knew.

Geoff Wright
Wrights Vineyard & Winery

Geoff and his wife Nicola bought this land in 2005. They live here with their sons Noah and Elijah. The winery is currently set up inside two shipping containers. And they’re in the process of building a straw bale house.

Nicola showed us around the vineyard and winery and told us about how the grapes are grown and processed.
Noah showed us his swing.

They make sparkling wine using the traditional method. The wine sits in these riddling racks for at least a year while it’s fermenting. Then this machine is used to freeze the sediment in the neck so it can be removed before the bottle is corked.

These are Sémillon grapes. They weren’t ready to be picked, but I decided to try one.

“Hmmm …. hmmm, sour!”

Nicola said they crush the red grapes by foot.

The reason you do that is for a gentler crush. And also it leaves some whole grapes or berries left behind. So that what happens is that during the fermentation the pressure builds up … the heat … and then it will burst like that. And that’s called carbonic maceration. Which basically gives it a nice, fruity, lighter style which is called a Beaujolais style.

Nicola Wright
Wrights Vineyard & Winery

The Wrights also grow olives to make olive oil and garlic which they sell at the local farmers’ market.
That’s all certified organic, that garlic as well.

Geoff said Gisborne has a good climate for winemaking.

This valley, particularly, has a unique micro climate to Gisborne. It’s intensely hot during the day - like, really hot - and that allows us to get the grapes really ripe, nice flavours come through.
And at night time, it’s the cooler temperatures which just allow us to help retain the acid in the wine and gives us good structure.
And also this particular valley, it has an old … got a limestone quarry, so there’s limestone going around into the soil too which they say really helps with the wines.

The Wrights wine is all grown organically and it tastes divine.

That night we stayed at a camping ground by Waikanae Beach. It was so nice going for a swim after such a hot day.

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