|The Globe Penthouse Apartments|
The earthquake that devastated the city in 1931 turned out to be a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.
• In some 60 seconds it produced "The Gift," 8,500 acres of land that suddenly rose nine feet from the sea.
• It moved the Ngaruroro River off its course, leaving behind the gravely riverbed, Gimblett Gravels, perfect for growing the grapes that now produce 70 percent of the country's red wine.
• The massive reconstruction was done in the cheapest, most durable style, Art Deco, giving it the largest concentration on Art Deco architecture and matching it with Miami's South Beach as a Mecca for architectural historians.
Tip: Few building are over two stories high and those that are all have elevators. Downtown Napier is flat but its residential areas are on steep hillsides. The wooden Victorian homes perched up there are the only things to survive the earthquake.
|Our Church Road wine-tasting line up.|
|Church Road Wine Museum|
|The perfect lunch for a wine tasting|
Tip: Steps here are minimal, although you will encounter a few in the museum.
Just down the road toward Napier I stopped at the country's oldest winery, Mission Estate, founded at a Marist Mission in 1851.
The building is a restored seminary and the grounds are striking, from the 60 plane trees, 100 years old, lining the driveway to the views across the back lawn to vineyards.
|View from the Mission Estate back lawn.|
Tip: No steps to speak of here either.
Blackbarn Vineyards, south of Napier toward Hastings, is a boutique vineyard whose wines are all estate grown and hand picked.
|Luncheon at Blackbarn was a treat.|
Tip: A few steps down to the arbor level where I ate but not worth counting.
|View from Giants winery terrace.|
|Dessert before the fire at Terroir.|
from Gimblett Gravels Vineyard in Hawkes Bay and rich 2008 Craggy Range Noble dessert wine. Giants has luxury cottage accommodations, too.
Tip: A few steps.
|Naturally, there's an elephant in front of Elephant Hill.|
Elephant Hill, a winery estate south of Napier along the Te Awanga coast and Hawke's Bay's newest, is as contemporary as the others are atmospheric.
|A pool, vineyards and the Pacific Ocean - how cool can it get.|
Tip: Minimal steps.
New Zealand Wine Centre, the only one of its kind, is right downtown in the Art Deco District.
|The Wine Centre Market has everything you can imagine connected to wine.|
|Sniff your way around the aroma room...|
|... then test yourself on a flight of whites - or reds.|
I barely whiffed the surface of Hawkes Bay vineyards and never got to those in the Marlborough area, but that gives me an impressive to-see-and-do list for next time.
Next post: The food of Hawkes Bay.