Most visitors to Queenstown, New Zealand, are interested in sports like skydiving or whitewater rafting, but the city also has a surprising roadside attraction in its tiny downtown.
As you’re making your way through Queenstown’s streets, keep your eyes peeled for a vintage Volkswagen Bus parked in front of a wine shop. This is no mere hippie van. This is one of New Zealand’s best — and quirkiest — wine destinations.
Say hello to Amy Vinedub, a vintage VW bus that’s been converted into a 46-bottle Enomatic machine pouring the best wines in the country. (The name is a riff on V-Dub, for VW.)
It’s the handiwork of Rick Nelson, owner of The Winery, a Queenstown wine shop and bar with some 750 bottles. “We are the largest New Zealand wine store in the world,” Nelson says.
Nelson had been looking for a way to bring The Winery’s diverse lineup to the masses at events like festivals or at private weddings and parties. He wanted to be able to offer the same type of interactive, educational experience he focuses on at the shop, where his Enomatic setup accesses 80 bottles.
“We wanted to do something a bit retro that would solve my problem of taking the shop’s experience off-site,” he says.
Enter the Volkswagen bus, a 1958 split-screen VW single cab that Nelson retrofitted over a period of 15 months. Amy Vinedub now has 46 wines on offer, with spouts on both the passenger and driver’s sides of the vehicle.
New Zealand is known for its Sauvignon Blanc, of course, but Nelson loves showcasing the diversity and quality of the country’s wines. He is especially fond of New Zealand Pinot Noirs, and has a deep lineup of Chardonnay, Syrah, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and rosé, often from small and hard-to-source producers.
Nelson is currently contemplating a crisscrossing road trip across New Zealand. “Someday we’ll take her on the road and put together a bit of a tour for Amy,” he says. Count us in.