We’ve heard it be called many things- a winery, cellar door, tasting room, Bodega, Chateau… In New Zealand, we most commonly refer to the place to taste and buy wine as a cellar door.

A server handing a glass of wine to customers at Mills Reef Winery.
Mills Reef Winery

Cellar doors are commonly located at or near the winery, but others are located at a vineyard, in a local restaurant, or even share spaces with other wine producers, art galleries, or retailers.

Although some tastings are free, some charge a fee to sample wines (around $5-$20) and many will refund the tasting fee with a bottle purchase. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to ask in advance.

Many cellar doors have regular opening hours; however, some require an appointment to visit.  Additionally, opening hours may change seasonally and on public holidays. If you are keen to visit a particular winery, it is always a good practice to call ahead to confirm, especially if travelling with a group of more than four people.

Safety is important in New Zealand so always have a designated driver.  All tasting rooms have spittoons to use, it is acceptable to share tastings with a partner, and there are plenty of tour operators and car and transportation services available in the wine regions.

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