It's an idyllic setting on the sloping hills facing the sun, looking out over Cooks Beach and the blue of Mercury Bay. Cook sailed in here to replenish his supplies and perform his astronomy measurements, and he found plenty.
The micro-climate here is ideal for growing grapes, a pleasant surprise for vintners Simon and Veronica Ward when they arrived, looking for a likely terroir. The rain clouds scoot around the surrounding hills and the sloping vineyards drain easily in the occasional deluge. The stunning property reminded them of the kind of European-style business that they worked in, and always admired; family-owned, compact and hands-on. So they stayed.
Simon and Veronica produce sustainable wines from grapes grown in their vineyard, with the addition of some Hawke's Bay grapes as the wine style selection has grown.
At the cellar door you can buy a bottle of rosé if you get there early enough and enjoy a glass of the current vintage in the restaurant overlooking the vines and the small village of Cooks Beach. It is here, in the restaurant, that the Italian influence is evident; in the simple unfussy presentation of fresh local ingredients.
Antipasto platters are the perfect accompaniment to a tasting flight of estate wines. Whether it's the Coromandel Board or the Charcuterie Board, the flavours of the place shine through. Veronica is Italian, so is her chef, and their handmade pasta, Supplì (aka Arancini) and wood-fired pizza have locals travelling for miles. Not to mention Veronica's Tiramisù.
Mercury Bay Estate is a popular wedding venue, and the Pond House, which is used for larger marquee parties, has an intriguing new neighbour. The arrival of the "Bubble Tent" means you can now stay here in elegant glamping-style luxury nestled amongst the vines. A beautiful white "igloo" with a perspex dome roof, is cosily fitted and privately situated close to the Pond House, which is yours to relax in. With a kitchen and large living area that opens to a raised deck with broad views over the bay, this rustic space is well-equipped and comfortable. The addition of a gas califont to the outdoor shower means you will have year-round comfort and seclusion. It's a short stroll to the cellar door for dinner, (takes care of driving home) or you can enjoy the platter and wine that is included in your stay package in complete privacy in your waterside cabina.
And the night sky is a vast and magical presence. Far from the light pollution of the city, the great glowing canopy is a spectacular and soothing way to round out a relaxing and restorative stay. Good for your soul indeed.
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