One of the places we visited in New Zealand, was the Malrborough wine region. If you are into wine and touring wineries, I highly recommend it. If you are not into wine, but like good food the Marlborough region is also for you. The saying "where there is wine there is good food" certainly rings true here.
We took a ferry over from Wellington through the Queen Charlotte sound. Three hours later we docked in the Picturesque town of Picton. It is located at the northern tip of the South Island off the Titoki Bay. We only spent a couple hours here before we caught our bus to Blenheim, but we did enjoy a nice walk around the quaint Picton harbor.
Our time in Blenheim was short as well. With only a day and a half though, we had were able to sample this growing wine region. We booked a nice half day tour through Bubbly Grape Wine Tours (van pictured below). Our tour guide, Kerry picked us up at our hotel about noon. There was an option of going at 10am, but that seemed bit much for a light drinker like myself.
If you do take this tour (which I highly recommend), I suggest taking it with Kerry. She is very open to suggestions. You can make it your own tour depending on your group. She also has a ton of stories, some of which were quite hilarious. She also hand makes journals to write down all the wineries you visit and wines tasted. She really made our tour unforgettable and fun.
On our tour, we visited five wineries. First stop was Fromm where we actually bought a bottle of the 2008 Riesling Spätlese. The woman who gave the tasting was incredibly knowledgeable, not only about New Zealand wine, but wine in general. She spoke a lot about the Mosel wine region in Germany, which I was able to try some wines from during a wine festival in Köln last year. Fromm winery is actually owned by Germans.
Next stop was Grove Mill. Here we were able to pick and taste the wine grapes off the vines and stroll through the vineyards. Walking through the vineyards reminded me a bit of the Santa Barabara wine region. This winery actually exports some of their labels to the US.
Another interesting winery, was Spy Valley. The name originated because it is located in the Waihopa Valley near actual spy domes. There was even a story about how one of the domes was recently deflated and being rebuilt a few weeks prior to our visit. This story can be found through tvnz.co.
Spy Valley is one of the newer wineries in the area, built in 2003. You can tell by the modern design of the building. A unique aspect to the architecture is the conceptualization of the outside design. The outer wood paneling is placed sectionally so it mimics morse code, spelling out Spy Valley all around the building. Pretty cool!
Our last winery of the day was Bladen. It was the smallest of the wineries we visited, and family owned. Christine, one of the owners actually served us for our tasting and shared her story of how she came to own a winery. Maybe it was because this was the last winery of our tour, but they had some of the best wine from all the wineries we visited. Usually, they say by the end all wines taste the same, but by then my cold had cleared up some and I think I could actually appreciate the flavors and aromas more. This was also one of the valley's older wineries, so they probably had more experience in perfecting their wines. We bought two bottles from Bladen.
Marlborough was a great little stop on our New Zealand trip. It was very low key, and until recently, not as sought out area for tourists. However, the area is quite charming and lovely, and I am glad we stopped here on our whirlwind tour of New Zealand.
The last two photos are just some nice sunsets in Blenheim and through our bus to Picton.