Review: Waiheke Wine Tours, Waiheke Island, NZ

It was a beautiful morning on Waiheke Island in New Zealand. After a fantastic breakfast at the Delamore Lodge,* I was off to enjoy an all-day adventure with Waiheke Wine Tours. My husband had left at the crack of dawn on a private photography tour with Kiwi Connect.*

Waiheke Wine Tours
Karen, our tour guide and driver of Waiheke Wine Tours

Waiheke Wine Tours

Karen, our Waiheke Wine Tour guide and driver, picked me up right on time at the designated location (near the Fuller’s 360 ferry terminal). As I climbed onboard the minivan, I met a lively group of women (and one man), along with a few couples. Everyone was ready for a fun day! The boisterous group of flight attendants from across the globe all resided in Dubai. 

Waiheke Wine Tours
Casita Miro Restaurant & Vineyard; photo by Kathy Leonardo

Casita Miro Winery

The countryside was beautiful, and Karen pointed out several areas of interest. Our first stop was a charming restaurant and winery named Casita Miro. It was set on top of a hill with the vineyards cascading below. They had prepared lovely tables set up with wine flights. Since I was the only solo guest, Karen gracefully united me with the group. They were more than welcoming. 

Waiheke Wine Tours
Enjoying the wine of Casita Miro

Casita Miro

The tasting included a sampling of five wines – Pinot Gris, Rosé, Malbec, Miro, and Madame Rouge. The pinot gris was light with a fruity, nutty flavor. The fragrant rosé brought forth aromas of both watermelon and berries. It was also fruity on the palate, but had a longer finish. I really enjoyed the Malbec. With notes of vanilla, this full-bodied red was smooth, and its dark berry flavor danced on my tongue.

The 2019 Miro Bordeaux was also very good. This tasty blend (Cabernet 36%, Merlot 41% Franc 19%, Malbec 4%) celebrates dark berry highlights as well. Our server explained, that this wine was aged in the traditional French way of storing in Oak barrels. 

Waiheke Wine Tours
Tasting Area featuring Mosaic Art by owner Barnett Bond. The space is used for Events at Casita Miro; photo by Kathy Leonardo

Finally, the Madame Rouge, another blend (Cabernet Sauvignon 53%, Merlot 47% Alcohol: 17.8%) was my personal favorite at Casita Miro. This robust wine had a unique red cherry flavor with hints of fig along with an everlasting finish. 

Artist & Owner Barnett Bond

Our tour guide Karen came by and encouraged us to walk around the property. Upon entering the restaurant, I was immediately taken by the mosaic tile. It was all over the property. I knew there had to be a story behind it, so I asked about this uniquely artistic aspect of the winery. It turns out that the owner is the artist. Barnett Bond created all the mosaics over a span of ten plus years. In addition to owning the property, he is both a doctor and an artist. Little by little, over the years, he just kept adding more artistic beauty. The artwork, the property and the surrounding views were all stunning. Casita Miro was a great place to start our tour. 

More beautiful Mosaic Art by Barnett Bond

Batch Winery

Our next stop was at the Batch Winery for an early lunch. This was well thought out by the tour planners. They knew we all should have a little food in our tummies before moving on. I was still pretty full from my big breakfast, but I decided to partake in a couple oysters. Waiheke Island is well-known for its incredible sea food. I chose one natural and one sautéed with leek and cheese. They were both delicious. I wanted to have just a little something to absorb the forthcoming wine. Plus, oysters like these are a delicacy for a foodie like me. I was once again sitting with the giddy girls who each ordered glasses of pinot to pair with their food. More giddiness ensued. I took care of my bill early, so I could walk the property and take in the views. 

Stonyridge Vineyard

Soon we were off to the next tasting at Stonyridge Vineyard, another striking property with picture perfect views. Waiheke is often referred to as “The Island of Wine,” because there are so many vineyards and wineries.

Waiheke Wine Tours
Stonyridge Vineyard Rep; Photo by Kathy Leonardo

We wandered the property for a bit. Then a charismatic rep came out to tell us about the wine. As we gathered in our own private outdoor tented tasting room, she explained the growing process. She told us how the weather on Waiheke Island affected the outcome of the wine and shared other interesting wine facts. 

The Wine

Our tasting kicked off with the Stonyridge Fallen Angel 2022 ROSÉ Central Otago, New Zealand. This featured exquisite notes of floral and pineapple as well as red fruit. It brought a lovely tropical vibe to my tastebuds. 

The Stonyridge 2021 Reserve VIOGNIER is grown in the coastal hills of Waiheke Island. The rep pointed out that it had an undertone of Acacia from the barrel ferment. This white wine also offered aroma of honeysuckle and exhibited an exceptionally long finish. 

Waiheke Wine Tours
Stonyridge Vineyard; photo by Kathy Leonardo

Then she brought out a Stonyridge Faithful 2020 Syrah, also grown in the coastal hills of Waiheke Island. The full-bodied fruit forward red was brilliant. It offered notes of oak on the nose. 

The final red, the Stonyridge Larose 2020 Waiheke Island won my best wine of the day prize. This Cabernet dominant blend included Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, as well as Malbec. This is one of those wines you don’t easily forget. Red wine enthusiasts will be inclined to ship a case or two back home. It is named after the most aromatic flower – the rose. The blend is created from grapes grown exclusively on the north facing slopes of Waiheke Island.

Waiheke Wine Tours
Stonyridge Vineyard; Photo by Kathy Leonardo

Cable Bay Vineyards

Cable Bay Vineyards was our final stop. It was yet another stunning property with gorgeous views. We were escorted into a private tasting room with a balcony. It featured a lovely view and also alluring artwork on the walls. 

Cable Bay Vineyards; Photo by Kathy Leonardo

Three wines were included in our tasting at Cable Bay. I declined the Chardonnay and the Rosé due to the amount of wine I had already consumed. You may have guessed, based on this review, that I favor reds. So, I wanted to savor my last taste of the day – the Cable Bay Vineyards Syrah 2019 Estate Vineyard, Waiheke Island. It did not disappoint! This dry red had a lively mix of fruit flavor with a bit of spice.

Art at Cable Bay

I absolutely loved the fact that artwork was showcased throughout the property. Local artists featured included Ray Haydon (see below image), Kruz Jimenez, Virginia King (see below image), Ruatoto, and Kati Van Der Drift.

Waiheke Wine Tours
The art of Ray Haydon and Virginia King at Cable Bay Vineyards

Waiheke Island is a splendid place to explore, particularly for wine lovers. If you have the time, stay for several days. If you don’t, just go for the day. You can easily hop on the Fuller’s 360 ferry from Auckland and be there 40 – 50 minutes later. Just buy your tickets in advance and arrive early, as it may fill up. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to book a tour with Waiheke Wine Tours.

After having such a great day, I know you will have a blast. The tour is a fantastic way to see the island while enjoying one of New Zealand’s most famous exports. For more information, visit the website –

*CLICK HERE to read about the Delamore Lodge*CLICK HERE to find out about Kiwi Connect;

CLICK HERE for additional articles about New Zealand; ETG also encourages you to visit New Zealand’s official tourism website –

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