Heron's Flight establishes Winemakers Centre in Matakana
Heron's Flight has recently completed a brand new culinary facility on their property in Matakana. The facility, which
can accommodate over 100 visitors and diners, has a variety of spaces specifically designed to showcase the best in NZ
wine and food.
One of those spaces is devoted to the new Heron's Flight Winemaker's Centre.
What is this? First some history:
Heron's Flight released one of the very first wines from the Matakana region back in 1991 and was the first to open a
cellar door shortly thereafter. Back then, and for about 6 years, we were the only cellar door in the region.
But times have changed. And at the last count, there were 30 vineyards in the Matakana region. And the area is still
growing. There is even a Matakana Winegrowers Assoc- with 27 members.
Well, Heron's Flight has grown with the times. We have completed a new facility, one aspect of which is designed
specifically to raise the profile of Matakana as a Winegrowing region.
How will we do this?
As an integral part of the Heron's Flight food and wine experience, the Winemakers Centre aims to raise the profile of
the area as a wine region by offering a number of wine based activities.
Matakana Wine 101: every Saturday and Sunday morning at 11am, Heron's Flight offers a free, informal, 20-minute talk on
the Matakana Wine region. Here you can learn a brief history on the region and gain an overview of the wineries and
wines made in the area. We will advise you on where to go, what to do, what to expect when you get there. We will also
tell you what wines to look out for. It is also the perfect opportunity to ask questions so you can best plan your day.
An accompanying guide has been designed to introduce you to the various cellar doors in the area, as well as lend a few
pearls of wisdom on cellar door etiquette and wine tasting techniques before you rock on up. It includes tasting sheets
so you can keep track of all the wines you have tried as well as a "Top 10" list of non-wine attractions. These are
places or activities in the area that are definitely worth a visit.
But the Heron's Flight Winemakers Centre offers more than an overview of Matakana wine.
We want to place this region firmly within the context of NZ wine in general. To do that, our restaurant wine list has
been selected to feature some of the most interesting wines from around NZ. Each wine on the list must reflect the most
authentic of that variety, and come from the region best known for it.
The Winemakers Centre uses this winelist as the basis for a variety of wine-based activities:
NZ Wine 101: on the first and second Tuesday evening of each month, we offer an informal discussion on wine etiquette
and storage, a close look at the white and red grape varieties within NZ, and on classic food pairings with some of
these wines. Four wines each night are tasted and discussed, with our chefs creating their favourite matches.
This is designed for those who are a bit "stuttery" when it comes to talking wine. Basicallyâ€¦Wine appreciation for
those who "appreciate" wine but really want to sound like they know what they are talking about. Oh, and you will get to
try some stunning wines from around the country.
Winestyles: on the last Thursday of each month we hold a more in depth discussion showcasing wines of a particular
variety. We'll talk about regional characteristics and terroir, winemaking practices, as well as trying some fantastic
wines of that variety made in NZ.
And what about the Heron's Flight Big Day Out? Staff getting niggly? Office morale a bit low? In need of some good
old-fashioned team bonding but not too keen on group bungy jumping?
Then book in for a Heron's Flight Big Day Out. You'll either do a shortened NZ Wine 101, or pitch yourselves against
each other in a Wine Options tournament.
We'll book you in for lunch and organise a tour round the vineyard with the vineyard manager. How does that sound?
But that's not all: The retail experience
The Heron's Flight Winemakers centre is not just the place to get information on the Matakana wine areaâ€¦It also
happens to be the Heron's Flight cellar door.
Here you get the opportunity to taste our current releases of Sangiovese and Dolcetto along with wines selected from the
restaurant wine list.
But also: Wines from around New Zealand
All the wines on the restaurant wine list are have been selected as being some of the best examples of the varieties
grown in New Zealand and are available to buy, at retail price, from the Winemakers Centre.
And: a small selection of some of the more interesting Matakana wines, chosen specifically by the winemakers'
themselves as their favourite wines, are also all available for purchase.
So, visit the Winemakers Centre for some of the most interesting wines from around NZ and around the Matakana region
And we haven't even told you about our new restaurant and wine library!
Heron's Flight has appointed Cara Bailey as manager of the new Winemaker's Centre.
She has a B-Sc and post-graduate degree in oenology from Lincoln; has had several years retail experience both in NZ
(Glengarry's) and the UK (Oddbins). She has also worked two vintages at Heron's Flight.