2017 New Zealand travel blog

Hanmer Range

Pegasus Winery

Pegasus Gardens

Hanmer In the Rain!


September 20, 2017

Awoke to a beautiful, sunny morning where we could see the snow- capped Hanmer Range. We could not get the TV to pull out from the storage cabinet so Bob again called Britz! (They must be so sick of hearing from us.) They referred us to a garage nearby that would be open tomorrow morning. BTW, Britz agreed to switch us to a MB rig on Sat 9/24. That will still give us 3 weeks with a better driving car No DVD watching but a few cribbage games. Debby is now winning 5 to 3.

Stopped by the garage. The fellow really yanked on the TV and pulled it out. The runner was so rusted that it really only needed a tough tug. Sprayed on some silicon and we were off to Waipara.

Waipara is a very rural valley where grapes, hazelnuts, olives and lavender are grown. Since 1982 it is known for producing riesling, pinot and chardonnay. The valley now produces over 250,000 cases annually. If you blink you will have passed through the town of Waipara. The population is probably not 100. Just a few houses. We spotted Torlesse where we are to stay this evening.

It was only 11:30 so we drove south to Amberley where we got our shopping done and Bob got a haircut. The premier winery is Pegasus Bay which also has Canterbury’s best restaurant that unfortunately was not open! (On our recent cruise we had a lovely pinot for dinner.) Heike Bauer, the cellar door manager, had just returned from Sonoma last month visiting two fellows who had worked at Pegasus. She spent a lot of time with Tom Gendall, assistant winemaker at Cline and Patrick Elliot Smith wine maker at Elan and Atlas Peak. Heike really liked Sonoma, especially the Fig Café in Glen Ellen. Small world!

Pagasus is owned by the Donaldson family and started in 1982 which must make it one of the oldest wineries in NZ like Te Mata. There is a range of hills that separate Pegasus Bay on the ocean from the winery. Ivan was a neurologist and is now a wine writer. His wife, Christine overseas the winery’s extensive gardens. Their oldest son, Matthew, has been the winemaker for 23 years and his 2 other brothers work at the winery as well. We liked their sauvignon/semillon and pinot the best and bought the pinot. Their merlot/cab was also very good (50%merlot, 30% cab, 20% cab franc). They have a natural amphitheater that can seat 3,000 people with opera (Christine’s passion) the primary focus

We were not allowed to picnic with wine because of their licensing restrictions so she recommended we try Brew Moon Brewery where they have quite nice wood fired pizzas. They were not open until 3:00 so we went to Norwester. Bob had a big bowl of clam chowder with lots of clams and I had a “flat white coffee”. Regardless of what you order, the cost is $4.00. Kiwis really are proud of their coffee and most any town or gas station will have good coffee. The cups are quite small and coffee strong. They offer sides of hot water so you can create your own strength.

Over lunch we decided that we would not stay in Waipara at Torlesse Winery. Bob is getting my cold and didn’t want to wine taste. Christchurch is only 45 km away and has a good Top 10 in town. We will spend 2 days at Akaroa (instead of 1) on the Banks Peninsula.

Camp has fancy kitchens but we are parked cheek to jowl. I was thrilled to find a clothesline with pins to dry our towels. It is the small things that sometimes make a difference! Bob is napping and I am trying to figure out what to do with our chicken breasts. Vegetables are like what we saw when living in England in the 70s. Carrots, broccoli and sometimes cauliflower. There are some strange looking (gnarly red/yellow) root type vegetable that I should really ask how to prepare. Otherwise we stick to potatoes, peppers, mushrooms and onions. Meals are starting to look a little alike!

The BBQs are a bit weird in that they do not have a grate rather a flat metal that heats up. There is no charring. Probably have a stir fry of some sort. 2016 Te Mata chardonnay.

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