We’ve put together an extensive list of nineteen of our favourite dog friendly wineries up and down the country (yes, nineteen) for you and your dog to enjoy. So grab a glass, relax and read on – you can thank us later.
Man O’ War Vineyard, Waiheke Island:
Celebrated American wine critic Robert Parker stated on his online publication, The WIne Advocate, “Man O’ War is without a doubt one of New Zealand’s greatest wineries in the making and one to watch.”
If that’s not enough to convince you to visit, what if we said it was possibly one of New Zealand’s most dog friendly wineries? The idyllic Man O’ War Bay is located at the very Eastern end of Waiheke Island, secluded from the main centre but a destination in its own right. Boasting an incredible 75 of the 100 vineyards on Waiheke, Man O’ War is set on 4,500 picturesque acres and its tasting room offers the country’s only beachfront tasting experience. Nestled amongst native Pohutukawa trees, relax on the large expanse of lawn, order a bite to eat and spend the afternoon with family, friends and of course, your dog. Their menu features delicious shared platters with a farm-to-table ethos, while their cellar door showcases the wide range of wines they produce such as Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Rosé.
Mudbrick Vineyard, Waiheke Island:
A crowd favourite for Aucklanders and holidaymakers alike, Waiheke Island’s Mudbrick Vineyard boasts incredible views, award winning wines and a world famous restaurant. Set amongst stunning Mediterranean surroundings, you’ll be transported to Tuscany while you relax, soak in the sun and relish in the calming fragrances of lavender gardens. You’d be hard pressed to find a more romantic winery in New Zealand, so the sunsets are incredibly spectacular at Mudbrick – why not book some evening tapas, leash up the dog and head over for a special date night? With a vast range of planted wines on offer, we particularly love the Malbec and Syrah – the perfect accompaniments to Head Chef BJ’s raw approach and the island’s foreagable flavours that are showcased here.
Coopers Creek Vineyard, Kumeu:
With expertly crafted wines that are available around the world, Coopers Creek has been a true pioneer in New Zealand’s wine industry. This award winning vineyard has been producing for three decades, so it’s a must-visit if you’re a wine loving dog owner. With a particularly dog friendly garden area, the DFNZ team all vouch for the jazz sessions that take place at Coopers Creek every Sunday throughout the summer. Bring a picnic blanket, purchase a bottle of one of their celebrated drops and park up for the afternoon – your dog will love the socialisation and fresh air just as much as you will! The perfect spot for a catch up with friends or family, all within a half hour drive from Auckland CBD.
The Hunting Lodge, Waimauku:
If you love a casual and relaxed rural atmosphere, look no further than The Hunting Lodge, set only half an hour out of Auckland. Grab a spot on the grass at the Lawn Bar, relishing the scenic views of the 80 acre vineyard and rolling hills of Waimauku. With a range of award winning wines on offer, sample their own boutique offering or try something new in their alternative varietals. For the beer fans amongst us, The Hunting Lodge taps feature local breweries Liberty Brewing Co and Hallertau, so you can still get amongst the fruits of the land. We love indulging in a wood fired pizza when visiting – a truly perfect way to enjoy a sunny afternoon with your dog in summer or winter.
Te Awanga Estate, Hastings:
Nestled on an elevated site in the foothills that hug the area, the cellar door at Te Awanga Estate enjoys views down through the 42 acres of vines, across the Te Awanga basin and out to the wide blue Pacific Ocean. Decked out in white and plywood, with its sea views and salty air, this charming vineyard is reminiscent of a New Zealand summer spent at the family bach. Sit back, take a load off and enjoy relaxed dining in a breezy and unfussy environment. With a casual menu serving up family-friendly staples (our pick is the loaded hummus), we recommend a trip here in the summer where they hold their world-famous-in-Te Awanga Sunday Sessions. Once a month, local artists provide live music entertainment, while the kids can play and the dog can eye up the cheese platter. Te Awanga Estate is no one-trick pony either, offering traditional, edgy or experimental drops ranging from Sauvignon Blanc to Cab Merlot and everything in between. We recommend checking opening hours before visiting as these change seasonally – and try to book in advance, this place is popular!
Church Road Winery, Taradale:
One of the oldest wineries in New Zealand, Church Road was founded in 1897 on the site it still stands on today. Boasting 125 years of winemaking experience, this truly stunning landmark is a must-do when visiting the area with your canine companion. Beautiful, historic and up market, we love an afternoon here sipping the fruits of the (delicious) vines and simply soaking up the atmosphere. Plan your next special lunch at Church Road and take your leashed dog along to enjoy the park-like lawn and breathtaking scenery. Likewise, if you’re wanting a more casual approach, that’s OK too – with many visitors opting to cycle in here at the end of the Hawke’s Bay Trails. Enjoy a complete wine and food experience with an extensive a la carte menu, showcasing Hawke’s Bay-sourced artisan products and boutique wines. Renowned for being the first in New Zealand to craft exceptional Bordeaux style red wine, discover how Church Road pioneered the creation of the Hawke’s Bay wine industry and choose from a range of different tasting menus in the cellar door. Church Road is no stranger to throwing a great event either, having hosted high profile artists such as FatBoy Slim and UB40 on their expansive grounds. On that note, we speak from experience when we say you’re guaranteed a good time!
Sileni Estates, Hastings:
“In ancient Greece the Sileni were companions of Dionysus, the god of good things – wine, vineyards and theatre. When there was something to be celebrated, the Sileni were always on hand to encourage enjoyment of delicious food, good wine and social interaction. When celebrations were in short supply, you could trust the Sileni to invent a reason for fun. Such was their dedication to the joy of living.”
All we’re saying is, the Sileni sound like our type of people! Established in 1998, Sileni Estates’ Hawke’s Bay winery is based in the sub region of the Ridge Pa triangle. Proud to showcase the region’s stunning terroir through an impressive range of grape varietals, these guys produce incredible Syrah from their hotter plains, along with Bordeaux blends and Semillon. Hailing from their cooler, higher altitude foothills and coastal sites, Sileni’s Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc round up the vast choice. There really is something to suit every wine taster when visiting their cellar door. Sileni Estates are known for their light, elegant wines with a certain skill for enhancing flavours and textures of the food they’re paired with. When visiting the Hawkes Bay, we definitely recommend popping in to Sileni Estates for a casual glass and a platter in the garden – with your dog in tow of course!
Set amongst the heart of Martinborough’s wine region, Poppies is possibly one of the most beautiful wineries you will visit in New Zealand. Settle in at your table in the French vintage styled courtyard, with romantic vines weaving their way along the arched canopies overhead. Poppies has been described as ‘faultless’, and we can’t disagree. It would be a tough job to find a negative review on this stunning destination, with the surroundings, food and wine being so widely celebrated. While Poppies is not a restaurant as such, they serve up seasonal platters, with flavours thoughtfully curated to heighten and enhance the boutique wines they produce. Depending on what time of year you visit, you may experience such flavours as crispy salted pork belly, smoked salmon, coconut turmeric parsnip and balsamic garlic mushrooms… follow up with a sweet treat or selection of cheeses. We recommend tasting the famous Poppies Rosé, while learning all about how this unique winery draws on traditional winemaking techniques. Preferring to let Mother Nature do her work, these guys prefer not to interfere too much and farm their vineyard with a minimalist approach. When visiting, make sure to give the team a heads up that you will be bringinging a dog, so they can make sure you are seated in the beautiful courtyard area.
Palliser Estate, Martinborough:
One of the things we love most about Palliser Estate is the move they are making toward becoming fully organic. With a fierce commitment to biodynamic practises, they believe that the regeneration of our land is key to our collective future success. For over 4 years, they have been working to steadfastly convert their vineyards to reflect the kind of wines they want to produce. With three of their six vineyards now certified organic, you can learn all about their journey and the difference in flavours upon visiting their stunning cellar door. Pop in for a tasting and experience the vast range of grape varietals on offer, before moving out to the courtyard and lawn area with your dog to soak up the sun and relaxed atmosphere. The gorgeous food truck ‘Nara’ will provide you with deliciously good food – an eclectic mix of cuisines that evolve with the seasons. Just be sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment!
In our eyes, a dog friendly winery should have three things – wine, pizzas and a sunny outdoor area overlooking rows of vines. Colombo understood the assignment and have nailed it. The experience here is laid back, as if visiting your best friend’s house for a lazy afternoon catch up. At Colombo, they want you to take a load off your shoulders, relax and take your time, enjoying tasting flights, platters or pizzas on their porch or lawn. Nothing’s a stress here, and you’ll feel relaxed as soon as you arrive – with your furry friend of course! Our pick of the menu is the Zola pizza, washed down with their Pinot Noir Rosé and followed up with the Italian Tiramisu – the ultimate chef’s kiss!
Saint Clair Family Estate, Blenheim:
Newly renovated, Saint Clair Family Estate is situated within a beautiful vineyard setting with views extending past the vines towards the ever revolving and dramatic Richmond Range. Bring your dog and enjoy the sunny courtyard which offers outdoor dining, as well as some options to be seated amongst the vines. Their delicious menu is constantly changing to reflect the best seasonal produce and finest delicacies the area has to offer. With options to suit any dietary requirement, it’s a great option for family get togethers or a catch up with friends. Choose from small plates and sharing platters or go for the full monty with sophisticated mains such as Prawn & Coconut Laksa and Wagyu Beef Brisket Pappardelle. Saint Clair produces a diverse range of award winning wines, so make sure to visit the tasting counter where you can explore the different collections for yourself – from Merlot through to Chardonnay and Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. A much loved destination, Saint Clair is a friendly, beautiful and solid choice to add to your dog friendly wine tour.
Forrest Winery, Blenheim:
A pioneer in the wine industry, Forrest Winery is moving toward a more sustainable future by actively causing minimal environmental impact. Not only are the bottles and cartons on site recycled, winery waste proucts are recycled as fertiliser and irrigation water and wild flowers are used to reduce the use of insecticides. Nestled amongst their vineyards in the heart of Sauvignon Blanc country, Renwick, you’ll find the Forrest Winery and Tasting Room. Look for the prominent stone wall marking the entranceway, then follow the winding driveway through their oldest Sauvignon Blanc vineyard. Your journey will take you over a lovely stone bridge and then open into a stunning park setting, decorated with bean bags, a duck pond and picnic tables. Grab yourself a platter, a tasting paddle (or carafe!) and settle in for the afternoon – you may even catch some live music!
Greystone Wines, Waipara
After searching the world for the perfect place to grow cool-climate wines, the Thomas family established Greystone Vineyard on the slops of the Teviotdale Hills in the Waipara Valley in 2004. While 60% of the plantings are made up of Pinot Noir grapes, other varieties produced here include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and some Syrah. With a reputation worldwide for their consistent quality and the awards to show for it, the Greystone cellar door is a stop not to be missed while on a Cantabrian wine tour. Learn all about the vineyard’s namesake – the amazing rolling limestone hills it is built on, and how it is now 100% certified organic with BioGro. Greystone are intimately connected to the vineyard without the use of synthetic and external inputs. Pull up a chair in their stunning courtyard area and enjoy a wine tasting with a selection of carefully curated cheeses. If you’re still feeling peckish, sit back and enjoy a full wine pairing experience. Dishes include handmade pasta, wild venison ragu and foraged porcini mushrooms, depending which season you decide to visit. Delish! Whenever you choose to come by, do let the staff know you’ll be bringing your pup so they can seat you in the dog friendly outdoor area.
Tussock Hill, Cashmere
Originally part of a large sheep farm situated on the volcanic Port Hills of Christchurch, the land on which Tussock Hill is built was purchased in 1998 with a vision to establish an organic vineyard and olive grove. This bare tussock hillside was planted with Pinot Noir vines, olive trees and native foliage and in 2016 Tussock Hill gained official organic winegrowers certification. These guys love dogs and are so happy to have your furry friend join you, just be mindful that the vineyard is also home to free range chickens, sheep and (ultra adorable) Kunekune pigs – an experience in it’s own right for animal lovers! Tussock Hill’s restaurant serves a delicious selection of seasonal sharing plates that highlight Cantabrian organic produce, while pairing beautifully with their boutique wine range. We recommend booking well in advance as Tussock Hill is an exceptionally popular spot – also mention your dog when booking to ensure outdoor seating with a gorgeous view!
Melton Estate, West Melton
Set amongst Pinot Noir vines on 12 acres of land, Melton Estate is only 15 minutes from Christchurch Airport, making it the perfect first or last stop in the city. With an expansive deck overlooking vineyards and their new games lawn, we love Melton Estate for their modern style – a look that is quite unique for Kiwi wineries. It’s a destination not to be missed, proven by their award as Best South Island Wine Tourism Restaurant in the International Great Wine Capitals Tourism Awards… twice! Wet the whistle with their range of handcrafted boutique wines and satisfy the tummy with a delicious dining menu including Akaroa Salmon and Canterbury Lamb Rump. With a casual and relaxed atmosphere, Melton Estate will welcome you and your canine companion with open arms.
Wet Jacket, Lake Hayes
A favourite amongst Milennials especially, Wet Jacket is a fun and quirky winery, located about 6 minutes from Arrowtown and under 15 minutes from Queenstown centre. Set on a flat, rural setting, it could be easily missed from the road – we’d forgive you for mistaking Wet Jacket for a wool shed. In fact, it is a historic wool shed, converted into an inviting, unpretentious and unique cellar door that should be on the top of your list of wineries to visit. You will rarely find Wet Jacket wines in your local wine shop, so we highly recommend picking up a case (or three) while here. A stunning time to visit Wet Jacket is in summer, where they often host live musicians. Soak up the Otago sun on their huge lawn, either at one of their park benches, on a beanbag or simply sprawl on the grass. Revolving food trucks will keep the hunger at bay, with the likes of Taco Medic, Francesca’s and Old Mates Smokehouse ready to take your order. We love that everything is so spread out at Wet Jacket, so even nervous dogs can get their own space without feeling crowded. A huge two thumbs up from us – Wet Jacket is a DFNZ favourite!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Kinross is arguably THE most dog friendly winery in the Otago region – they even offer dog friendly accommodation! For such a high end, luxurious establishment, this is a big deal. Plus, not only do they just allow dogs, they love them! Bring your pooch along and settle into the stunning wine garden, which can be enjoyed summer or winter alike, either under the hot Otago sun or by the blazing outdoor fire. With a menu designed mainly for sharing, you simply cannot go past their Buttermilk Fried Chicken – drool. Alternatively, line the tummy with tried and true truffle fries or a sourdough pizza. Whatever you decide to choose, we guarantee that food envy simply does not exist when at Kinross – you will always be satisfied! If you’re after the full shebang, opt for a 3 course lunch with wine pairing, crafted carefully by head chef Pete Frankle and their talented sommelier team. Who says dog-friendly locations can’t be boujee? There’s a reason Kinross is rated #2 out of 68 hotels in Queenstown and has a solid 5 star average from 633 reviews on Tripadviser. Seriously – go, now.
Ever picked up a bottle of RUA Pinot Noir at your local wine shop? If so, you’ve probably mentally noted it as one of the most delicious drops you have ever tasted. Akarua Winery is responsible for this easy, comforting and fluid beauty, which was why they were one of the first wineries we ticked off our Otago tour. The sweetest wee cellar door we could imagine, Akarua is lined by a perfect, white picket fence, giving it a feminine vibe reminiscent of a spring garden party. Entering into the courtyard set on pale stones, you’re surrounded by softly drooping trees, hollihocks and white umbrellas – I almost expected Peter Rabbit to run across my path! It’s a magical little establishment and one you just cannot pass up. Whether you take a seat and order food at the bistro, or opt for a casual tasting at the cellar door, you will feel included and part of the atmosphere, as it’s so well set out. We chose to do a tasting and as the cellar door offers an outdoor bar to the side of the courtyard, we still felt in the thick of it. Our host was extremely chatty, friendly and fun – there is absolutely no air of la-di-da at Akarua and we are absolute fans for life.
Rockburn loves welcoming furry friends, so bring your dog along to the Rockburn Stables in the heart of Gibbston. This unique winery takes its name from the rugged, rock strewn and burn scarred landscape of Central Otago. Famous for their Stolen Kiss Rosé, make sure you snap up a bottle of this while visiting the cellar door, as you’ll be hard pressed to find it anywhere due to its popularity! Nestled between Cardrona and the Remarkables ski fields, the Rockburn Stables is unique and has quite the history – it’s situated on the historic site where the gold miner’s Gibbston Hotel proudly stood in 1867. These guys specialise in Pinot Noir, and let’s just say we can see why – they are to die for! Be sure to take part in a tasting and then snuggle up next to the fire in their relaxed outdoor area. The staff are down to earth, friendly and easy going, so you’ll feel right at home. Our biggest recommendation? Make sure you leave enough space in your luggage to fit in a few bottles of Rockburn!