New Zealand has an I-Site (Information Site) in nearly every town. We walked to the one in Napier to inquire about biking in wine country and learned that on Saturday there was a once-a-year wine festival with a hop-on hop-off bus. Sounded better to us than dusty trails!
Before we joined the tour we visited two wineries with top notch juice, Te Awa and Trinity Hill. Both excellent and we made a special connection with Sasha at Trinity Hill who was from Bristol, England!
Then it was on to the festival. First winery, Ash Ridge. Great food, ho-hum wine.
Second winery, Paritua. Better wine, learned that it is available in PA,NJ, and surrounds. . .learned this from one of the employees who is from Philadelphia. We learned later that this is a winery which is owned by a Chinese concern, does not have a cellar door, is open only for this festival, and their best wines go to China.
And how did we learn all this, you might ask?? Well, we were sitting by ourselves when a friendly table of folks about our age spied us, asked about my Nasty Woman shirt, to which I told them, “I’m a F*&*ing Nasty Woman and proud of it” and they immediately insisted that we pull up chairs and join them!
We chatted about everything. . .politics, wine, our travels, and before we knew it, we were heading with them to their privately hired van and moving onward to the next winery, Ngatawara. They insisted. They would not take no for an answer. They adopted us, kidnapped us, and on the van they sang to us!
We barely knew what was happening. “We brought our own lunch, there’s plenty, and we want you to stay and eat with us!” Don, being the shy, quiet type, demurred. Linda said, “FOOD!? I’M IN!”
More talk, more wine, more laughs, more singing. How did we get so lucky!!??
But we did feel after a time that we should break away, visit more wineries, and let the group re-group. So after letting them serenade us with one last song, we went on our way. (As a post-script, we did happen to run in to them later on the tour, all vowing to stay in touch and see each other again. Chissà, as the Italians would say. Who knows!?)
We moved on to Sileni winery which had the BEST music. Unfortunately, on a day like this, the wineries were not featuring their best wines, so we weren’t overly impressed. We learned at Sileni that Costco carries their bottom tier, most likely under a different label.
As a Nasty Woman, I was happy to chat with both women and men about the goings on in the US. One more elderly gentleman said, “You’re not a nasty woman.” I don’t think he got it.
We loved getting Kiwi-napped and will long remember the amazing group who gathered up two Americans and made us feel even more at home than if we had been at home!!