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Matakana & Around/New Zealand

Introducing Matakana & Around

Matakana suffers from reverse alcoholism – the more wine gets poured into it, the more genteel it becomes. A decade ago it was a nondescript rural village with a handful of heritage buildings and an old-fashioned country pub. Now the locals watch bemused as Auckland’s chattering classes idle away the hours in stylish wine bars and cafes. The most striking symbol of the transition is the fantastical Matakana Cinemas complex, its domed roof reminiscent of an Ottoman bathhouse. The humble Farmers Market is held in its shadow – or should that be Farmers Upmarket?

The reason for this epicurean ecstasy is the success of the area’s boutique wineries, which are developing a name for pinot gris, merlot, syrah and a host of obscure variet­als. Local vineyards are detailed in the free Matakana Coast Wine Country (www.mata­kanacoast.com) and Matakana Wine Trail (www.matakanawine.com) brochures. Both are available from the Matakana Information Centre in the foyer of the cinema.