Going Wine Tasting In The Tropics

Having met the seasteaders in Tahiti, Roadstered around Moorea and summited my future honeymoon destination of Bora Bora, I moved on to lesser-known islands for the second half of my French Polynesia trip. Have no worry… the fun will come.

Following a pleasant flight that involved no TSA hassles — or any airport security procedures for that matter — I landed on the island of Rangiroa, part of the Tuamotu Archipelago, also known as Tuamotus.

I was immediately blessed with kilometers of unspoiled beaches. However, soon after, the weather spoiled (sort of) my stay in Tuamotus. My visit to Tuamotus included stops in Rangiroa and another of the prominent islands in the archipelago, Fakarava.

Rangiroa French Polynesia

Long strips of sand and big reefs and lagoons are key features of both islands. Rangiroa, in particular has a very large lagoon that is a popular diving spot.

I opted for snorkeling, though… snorkeling with sharks, that is. Remember, sharks are my friends. We established that in Moorea. The Tuamotuan sharks like me just as much.

While in Fakarava, unfortunately due to the bad weather, I was unable to go snorkeling in the Tuamotu passes, which are famous for their marine life. The weather put a damper on my Tuamotu stay, but it did not ruin it. As a native European I know what to do when the weather sucks… turn to alcohol.

Lucky for me, this South Pacific archipelago is equipped with a surprisingly bustling wine industry.

Rangiroa, incredibly, has a coral reef where grapes grow. In addition to vineyards, Rangiroa has a winery, Vin De Tahiti. It is a setting one would never expect for a winery — sandy and tropical. Pretty amazing!

Rangiroa French Polynesia

There, at this coral reef atoll winery, is where I met the love of my life, the woman who will honeymoon with my laptop and me in Bora Bora… Just Kidding.

Actually, I met three French girls at the winery. That was fitting since the French like wine, people in French Polynesia speak French and France taxes its citizens to near-death, while French Polynesia does not. Well, in reality they were just tourists like me.

But we bonded.

We, native Europeans, were inspired to drink off our sorrows at sunset, to have such a great time we would forget the weather was keeping us out of the snorkeler’s dream passes in the Tuamotu Archipelago.

Rangiroa French Polynesia

It was a winery, so we started with wine. They chose to spit. I chose to swallow. The wine was very tasty, but it wasn’t enough. They were three très belle girls, and I was one tall, eligible anarchocapitalist German man. How could things not heat up?

Still at Vin De Tahiti, we moved on to rum tasting. This time they swallowed. Starting to loosen up a bit, the French girls initiated a game. Every time we heard thunder we would drink rum.

The rum shots went on for a while until the grand finale. We stripped off our clothes, put on snorkeling masks and dove in the water in search of the most amazing marine life in the South Pacific.

Okay… that didn’t happen. But the French girls and I did go rum tasting at coral reef atoll winery in the South Pacific. For a Plan B, that’s hard to beat.

Now… on to the sexually liberated, cannibalistic neighboring islands… Stay tuned! ?


Stay: In the Tuamotus I stayed in Pension Plage in Rangiroa and Relais Marama on Fakarava. Nothing particular to mention, though being just 5m from shark-infested waters in Rangiroa was a novelty. At one evening, I saw 7 swimming just a meter from the beach.


Eat: It is hard to find food as restaurants rarely exists. My Rangiroa pension, however, had their own cool and prepared quite delicious steaks with Roquefort sauce.


Drink: To my surprise, Rangiroa has a vinery. In fact, it is the only vinery in all French Polynesia – and that on a sandy atoll in the middle of nowhere. Wine tasting was complemented by rum tasting – I never drank so much in the 4 weeks of being in Polynesia.


Connect: Mobile Internet has edge, but besides Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger it is unusable. Hotel Wifi was a bit better, but hardly well enough to work.


See: Nothing special – apart from the above mentioned vinery and the amazing underwater life.


Do: The Tuamotus are more a place to relax – and snorkel and dive, at least when the weather is good enough.


Go there: Fly from Tahiti or Bora-Bora.


Go next: There are plenty of bigger and smaller atolls. Famous for its pink sand beaches, I left out Tikehau.

Rangiroa French Polynesia