From the haka to Hobbits, stunning scenery to Sir Ed, from Lorde to loveable locals – NZ is a world-renowned destination and there are countless ways to explore the country’s finer points, including the acclaimed Winery Tour. From its humble beginnings in 2007, The Winery Tour celebrates first-class New Zealand music, scenery, and wine, complementing the touring artists’ talent against stunning vineyard backdrops at top-rated venues. Held in the summer months, The Winery Tour provides the perfect opportunity to gather your mates to sample a glass or three of NZ’s new-world wines amid a setting of expansive lush lawns and ready-to-harvest vines that enhance the music and the vibes to magical proportions.
New Zealand has 10 major wine-producing areas, and over the years The Winery Tour has passed through them all. While the venues may change, wherever you attend – from Auckland’s Villa Maria to Napier’s Church Road or Havelock North’s Black Barn Vineyards - the consistency around event organisation and the high-calibre of artists is a huge part of the festival’s success. With close to 150 shows under their belt, the organisers have made The Winery Tour a stalwart event on the summer festival calendar, with loyal concertgoers regularly praising the ease of attending.
ON THE GRAPEVINE
The Winery Tour is an all-ages event and a quick scan of the crowd reveals it truly is, from babies in prams through to silver-haired foxes with canes. It’s a fun day out for all and children under 12 can attend for free (one child per adult). Tickets go on sale in October and it pays to get in early to secure your spot. There’s no hierarchy at The Winery Tour, it’s general admission for everyone, and nabbing primo stage views is on a first-come, first-served basis. Gates open 5pm and music runs from 6-10pm.
Setting up a picnic at The Winery Tour is a rite of passage – a hamper filled with cheese, crackers and summer fruits, lying atop a checkered blanket, creates the perfect space to soak up the stellar vibes with your crew. A trip to the supermarket en-route for supplies is advised but leave the branded food (think Maccas) at home as it’s banned. All soft drinks and water must be in sealed bottles to ensure that no alcohol is brought into the venue. Glass must also be left at home. If packing a picnic seems like a grind, there are food stalls on site to whet many an appetite. Payment for food or wine is simply cash or EFTPOS across the venues.
As with any New Zealand summer event, the hope is for a flawless summer day that reflects why it’s such a desirable country to live in and if you’re in luck a hat and shade is advised; if not pack rain protection including ponchos. In fact, as it’s NZ, bring both to be on the safe side as the event runs rain or shine. (And please note passouts are not allowed.)
Chairs are permitted; though deckchairs may be placed in a separate back area to ensure everyone has the perfect stage view.
LONG & WINE-DING ROAD
Getting to and from The Winery Tour is generally seamless as the venues are within driving distance from city centres. Once there, there is ample free parking on site with easy-to-follow signage to find the best space. To avoid drawing straws for designated driver spots either take one of the coordinated buses (some shows only) or book a cab in advance to avoid a line and whine (geddit?) at the end of the night.