Karikari Estate & Winery, Matai Drive, Karikari Peninsula, NOR 0483. New Zealand.
The views at KE are nothing short of breathtaking; even with pretty average wines throw in a passable menu & some semi-competent staff it would be a license to print money.
Unfortunately the praise one can heap on the vista are where the plaudits must end for this review.
If I went into a McDonalds & asked them to tell me what wines the Karikari Estate makes I would probably be asking a bit much; however if I were to ask that at the actual Karikari Estate, at a wine tasting that they expect people to pay for (which speaks volumes about the wine itself), staff unable to help past mumbling everybody who knew about wine left last summer is just not good enough.
Neither is not coming back when a customer asks a question about your menu when trying to order lunch (they weren’t rushed off their feet, we were one of only two tables of two there).
Nor is failing to offer a vegetarian option in this day & age (& whilst our waitress’ “…well you can just have some sides…” suggestion was doubtlessly well meant, I’m afraid that does not count).
So the wine tasting was a flop, lunch was likewise, let’s just make the best of it; order something & drink in that million dollar view I hear you say. Well, no…
On our visit the temperamental Kiwi weather was living up to it’s reputation (passing showers & brisk winds). True to form however the only wet weather tables prepared for the lunch service were in a darkened corner of the wine tasting room. Not only could you not see the view, you couldn’t even see daylight!
Adding insult to injury there was a clear-walled marquee outside on the terrace, it just had just not been set up for lunch.
It was like they were actually trying to keep business to a minimum. What KE needs to realise is that when people go to a winery they are generally already prepared to part with generous sums of money for:
B) a nice spot of food; and
C) a pleasant experience.
Whereas Karikari’s staff:
A) confess to not know anything about wine;
B) have put no care or attention into the menu; &
C) lack quite basic customer service skills & an understanding of what their customers want.
The frustrating thing is that KE has a setting that would keep people there all day happily handing over their cash if they would just do the simple things right.
It is not rocket science; in fact it is so basic that you can only conclude that Karikari’s owners are completely apathetic to their investment to let it be managed this badly.
Train your staff, update your menu, take advantage of your USPs & hire a manager with a bit of passion for your industry. Please!