The cellar door is luring us out West this weekend

A superbly casual way by which to enjoy some of West Auckland's finest bottled produce.

The Hunting Lodge has long been a West Auckland gem. The 130-year-old villa, perched pretty as a picture atop one of Waimauku’s grassy knolls has hosted innumerable weddings over the years, and served as a place to enjoy the bounty of the region’s abundant vines. But now it’s giving us more, thanks to a recent reboot.

Purchased by a local Auckland family from the now South Island-based Matua Wines, The Hunting Lodge remains a popular wedding venue with a charmingly rustic new ‘barn’ to boot. It is the wine producing facility, however, that has been transformed into a newfound weekend destination beckoning for what remains of the sunny, languid inclement. Producing eight new varietals, including two certified organic pinot noirs, The Cellar Door has been devised as a place to taste said wines as well as provide satiation for those who care to park up for a picnic.

Having employed the culinary expertise of Des Harris (once of Clooney fame) to get the Mediterranean-inspired sharing menu off the ground, you can imagine that the offering is a little more elevated than your norm. But don’t be deterred, simplicity is a core principle as you choose from various items from the cabinet’s larder — salumi, cured meats, beetroot salad, fresh figs, burrata, pâté and golden-baked focaccia — to comprise a personalised platter of epic proportions.

With a bottle of wine under your arm and plenty of delicious fodder to graze on, the idea is to pick up a blanket and take your loot out onto the vast lawn or under the vines to enjoy. Needles to say, we can imagine staying put for more than an hour for two. And later, when your sweet tooth rears its head, you can head back in for a couple of friands, financiers (a French almond cake) or dessert pots to finish off.

Designed to be a superbly casual way by which to enjoy some of West Auckland’s finest bottled produce, we strongly suggest you take a dedicated drive out to the rolling countryside to see what the titivated new Hunting Lodge has to offer.

The Hunting Lodge

307 Waikoukou Road


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