Black Barn Vineyards, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

For our final night in Hawke’s Bay, Louise and I stayed in a luxury retreat at Black Barn Vineyards in Havelock North. Black Barn Vineyards’ wines are made from hand-picked grapes grown on this picturesque estate, with many of the wines only available at the cellar door, bistro, luxury retreats or via Black Barn’s website.

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Before checking in, we met Vicky from Hawke’s Bay Tourism for a spot of lunch at the Black Barn Vineyards Bistro.

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The restaurant is right in the heart of the vineyard. It’s a lovely setting for a leisurely lunch, with big windows that let in the sunshine, providing diners with gorgeous views of the vines and surrounding Hawke’s Bay. The menu is led by what’s in season, using freshly grown Hawke’s Bay produce, and dishes are matched with Black Barn Vineyards wines. We enjoyed a fantastic lunch.

Pouring the wine, amuse bouche of mushroom soupL-R: pouring the Black Barn Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc; amuse bouche of mushroom soup

Louise's dish: pumpkin spinach and ricotta pasta roulade, smoked sundried tomato pesto with toasted pumpkin seeds, Italian parmesan and olive oil (NZ$27)Louise’s dish: pumpkin, spinach and ricotta pasta roulade, smoked sundried tomato pesto with toasted pumpkin seeds, Italian parmesan and olive oil (NZ$27)

Vicky's dish: panfried market fish (blue nose) on fragrant lime and ginger rice with vegetable noodles, salmon wontons and soy rock sugar dressing (NZ$34)Vicky’s dish: panfried market fish (blue nose) on fragrant lime and ginger rice with vegetable noodles, salmon wonton and soy rock sugar dressing (NZ$34)

Chilli spiced squid and Nelson scallops with mango and coriander dressing and baby spinach (NZ$18) After all our grazing in the morning, I chose an entree-sized dish: chilli spiced squid and Nelson scallops with mango and coriander dressing and baby spinach (NZ$18). The plump scallops and curls of spiced squid were superbly tender

Porcini dusted shoestring fries with blue cheese mayo (NZ$7) Among the tastiest fries I’ve eaten this year: porcini dusted shoestring fries with blue cheese mayo (NZ$7). Seriously moreish

Rocket with apple and champagne vinaigrette, freeze-dried feijoas (NZ$7) Rocket with apple and champagne vinaigrette and a local twist of freeze-dried feijoas (NZ$7)

Top to bottom: Fruit mince ice cream, berry ice cream and apple sorbet (NZ$12 for three scoops, selection changes daily)I couldn’t resist ordering dessert, the day’s selection of housemade ice cream and sorbet – top to bottom: fruit mince ice cream, berry ice cream and apple sorbet, with praline sprinkled on the plate (NZ$12 for three scoops)

Black Barn Vineyards has 14 self-contained luxury retreats, each perfect for a private getaway. Our retreat was the one called The Black Barn, located at Black Barn Vineyards itself, surrounded by grape vines and almond, olive and citrus trees. We each had a king-sized bedroom with ensuite and private terrace. There’s another retreat at Black Barn Vineyards called Rush Cottage, but others are located in surrounding Hawke’s Bay, including at Waimarama beach; Tuki Tuki River Valley; and Te Awanga, right next to Cape Kidnappers’ golf course.

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DSC_7914Entrance hallway – one bedroom to the left (mine), one to the right (Louise’s).

After our busy day visiting local producers and then cycling on the winery trail, I relished the thought of a little time to myself, kicking off my shoes and relaxing on the bed.

Louise's roomLouise kindly let me sneak in and photograph her room before she unpacked

My room My room

View from my room The view

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The rustic furnishings, comfy sofas and open fireplace give The Black Barn the feel of a cosy den, but it’s spacious, with high ceilings. The modern kitchen’s fully equipped with a large double oven, microwave and dishwasher, and there’s a washer and dryer, LCD TV with DVD player, iPod charging dock and complimentary wireless internet.

Lounge with fireplace Lounge with fireplace, well stocked with wood. How about sitting by the fire with local wine, cheese and chocolates… but what we’d also need is Trivial Pursuit!

There’s a selection of Black Barn Vineyards’ wines at significantly lower prices than what you’d usually pay in a hotel room. There were Heineken beers and Antipodes water in the fridge – you pay for what you consume.

KitchenFresh fruit, eggs, muesli and a loaf of bread had been left for us on the counter for breakfast (if we wished).

There’s a croquet set, a gas barbecue outside, and a tennis court shared with Rush Cottage. There’s information on local activities, restaurants and the Hawke’s Bay wine trail too, to give you ideas for things to do, eat and drink outside of Black Barn.

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Guests are free to explore the property, wander around the vineyard and among the fruit trees. The Black Barn Growers’ Market is held on grounds every Saturday during summer (usually running from December to March).

Waking up to this is simply joyous. It’s the feeling of having escaped the daily drudge and being somewhere extraordinary.

Nearby, surrounded by 50-year old muscatel grape vines is the Black Barn Amphitheatre, a unique outdoor concert venue with grassy steps for seats, set in the gently sloping hill. The cabling for lighting and sound are all buried underground, so as not to spoil the ‘natural’ ambience. The Black Barn concert season is held here over summer. There is also an art galley at Black Barn, exhibiting works by New Zealand’s leading contemporary artists.

Black Barn amphitheatre Black Barn amphitheatre

Our black barn The Black Barn – set up your croquet game here

As a holiday destination, Hawke’s Bay stands out thanks to its fantastic food and wine, outstanding hospitality, and stunning beauty – Black Barn is no exception. This was another place that I’d dearly love to share with Jac.

Black Barn Vineyards

RD12 Black Barn Road
Havelock North
New Zealand
Telephone: +64 6 877 7985

The Black Barn Bistro is open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday – bookings are essential.
The Cellar Door is open daily 10am to 5pm.

The Black Barn retreat

Two king-sized bedrooms with ensuites, up to 4 people
NZ$650 per night for the entire property
It’a one of 14 Black Barn luxury retreats to choose from.

This is the final post of my Hawke’s Bay series

I travelled to Hawke’s Bay and dined and stayed at Black Barn Vineyards as a guest of Tourism New Zealand. I had a wonderful time and hope you’ve enjoyed reading the stories about my trip. I hope to visit Hawke’s Bay again. Do you have a favourite place in Hawke’s Bay?

My trip highlights:

  • Favourite place: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
  • Most memorable experience: Tracking down and meeting a kiwi bird named Tram Track
  • Favourite lunch: Terrôir restaurant at Craggy Range in Havelock North
  • Favourite dinner: Pacifica restaurant in Napier
  • Favourite savoury dish: Pacifica’s warmed crayfish medallions and smoked eel porridge, and Terrôir’s signature steamed littleneck clams, Craggy range verjus and mustard cream sauce
  • Favourite sweet dish: Mister D’s famous doughnut with injectable fillings, and the housemade Dutch spice ice cream at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
  • Best “Ooooooh!” moment: Biting into The Damson Collection’s damson liqueur-filled chocolate (if you ever get the chance – try it!)

My Hawke’s Bay blog series

The posts:

Getting to Hawke’s Bay

I flew with Air New Zealand from Perth to Auckland, then flew via Mount Cook Airlines from Auckland to Napier in the Hawke’s Bay region. Mount Cook Airlines is one of three regional airlines that are part of Air New Zealand Link, connecting New Zealand’s regional centres and main international airports.

F.A.W.C! Summer Series 2013

The Food and Wine Classic, referred to as F.A.W.C! (pronounced ‘fawk’, rhymes with hawk), will see over 50 food and wine experiences held over 10 days in Hawke’s Bay. It kicks off with a launch party at Craggy Range Winery on 1 November and finishes with the Carnivore Carnival at the Hawke’s Bay Races on 10 November.
Find out more about F.A.W.C! – tickets on sale now.

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  • That scallops and squid dish is so pretty! And I’ve never come across freeze dried feijoas before – lucky you! I want a mini break with an open fire :)

    • Right now, I’d love a mini break with an open fire too. Hawke’s Bay seems an eternity ago.