We celebrated Steves birthday this week with lunch at Te Motu Vineyard. Lunch isnt a meal that Americans linger over but here in New Zealand it seems to be very common. People will go out for Sunday lunch, much as we go out for Saturday night dinner. Steve chose the vineyard, I made the reservations. Steve doesnt drink, so I can taste as much wine as I want. What a deal.
The day was gray. Our meals were not memorable. The desserts were good but Steves chocolate cake was miniscule to the point of laughter. I made a bad choice of wine, opting for the 2000 Te Motu Cabernet Merlot, which was available only at the winery and not yet released for sale. A mistake as it really needed a little more age to round off the rough edges. The service was slow, surprising because there were quite a few waiters. All in all though, we had a fabulous time. Theres something about eating with a beautiful view of rolling vineyards and distant ocean that heals all complaints.
There are about 24 vineyards on Waiheke and many have restaurants that range from simple wood-oven pizzas to very fancy "European-styled New Zealand main courses". Almost all have wine tastings and "cellar door" sales. Some have olive groves and sell olive oil as well as wine. What more can you ask? Some are open only in the summer, one is open for only one week a year and most seem to be open only on weekends in the winter. We need to know these schedules, after all we plan to try as many as possible.