Warning: Koteka Winery is not for the faint of heart!
If you're expecting a fancy wine tasting bar/vineyard, you will hate this place. Koteka's "tasting room" is basically a converted garage space at his house with random recycled tubs and bottles filled with his own concoctions of wine and liquors. You tastings are poured into tiny plastic shot cups where you're seated on fold out chairs while wasps that live in one of the cabinets flies in and out of the open window. When we asked why the wasps are there, Koteka's answer was "they were here first, so we built around them".
My description so far doesn't sound very appealing but it's such a great place for those who like the eccentricities of traveling and local culture. Koteka is a native Cook Islander who just happens to be an amateur wine and liquor maker. He uses natural ingredients from the land to produce such delicacies as coconut liquor and banana wine. As you can see by my name, I'd like to think that I have a seasoned palate for spirits and this is by no means anything close to being the best I've ever had. In fact, some of the ones that we tried were almost undrinkable. Some, on the other hand, were decent. The allure of this place isn't the alcohol but the man himself welcoming people into his "home".
The bottles also make a great souvenir to take back home and share a piece of the Cook Islands with those who weren't so lucky to be there. He isn't open all the time and the place isn't easy to find. The only way you'll see it is by walking/scootering along the main road on the Southern end of the island and looking for his chalkboard sign. You'll need to follow the dirt road at the sign past several houses and farms and there will be another chalkboard sign outside of his house. If the sign is not up, he's not open. Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!