You, Me & Northland “Favourite Tastes” *** Ake Ake by Sovrano ***

When we think wineries and fine NZ wine, our thoughts stray immediately to The Hawkes Bay & Marlborough. Few Kiwi’s know that the birthplace of wine in New Zealand is in fact the far north. Indeed, it was missionary Samuel Marsden who planted New Zealand’s first grapes at Kerikeri in 1819, then in the 1830s James Busby made wine from his vineyard at Waitangi.

Northland and North of Auckland has a multitude of good wineries. Matakana Estate, Heron’s Flight, Brick Bay, Rothco, & Hyperion to name a few in Matakana. Then there’s BrookeLane, Te Whai, & Millars in Mangawhai. Longview & Sailfish Cove are around Whangarei.

In Russell & Kerikeri they have Omata Estate, Paroa Bay, Kainui, Fat Pig, Marsden, and my personal favourite – Ake Ake.

If you are heading north, you reach the big round about on the outskirts of Kerikeri, and instead of turning right to the township, you head straight though for a few minutes then take a left at Waimate North Road. In about 2 minutes to arrive at a steepish drive that quickly takes you through vines and to the tasting room and restaurant.

I enjoy tastings at Ake Ake. They have always had a great range to sample, and now there is even more. On the 28th May 21, the Sovrano Family (famous in the area for their Limoncello’s) brought the business. To the existing 13 Ake Ake labels, they have added 2 Sovrano wine labels, and of course their 7 well known Liqueurs.

A wine tasting at the Ake Ake cellar door is an event. You will try three Whites, three Reds, and three Liqueurs of your choice. The Pinot Griggio is an easy-to-drink white, and red wine drinkers will enjoy the rich fruit flavours of the Chambourcin. Of the Liqueurs the Limoncello is an easy favourite, though you may find yourself asking for more of the Chococello or the Rosolio. For me – I’ll always walk away with a bottle of Ake Ake Port.

The tastings are accompanied by an interesting commentary, and they welcome questions from the floor. Afterwards, it’s only a few feet to your table at the restaurant for a lazy lunch, then if the day is beautiful (as it often is in the far north) take a 1km ramble around the Vineyard trail.

That is what I call a great day in the Bay of Islands!


Oh my gosh, we all had a fantastic day out. Thank you so much. I really didn’t expect to like all those weird and wonderful snacks during the "Curious Food Train" activity, and didn’t think they would all participate. The staff all keep thanking us for such a great day. Looking forward to next years event!