Unless you’ve been living under a rock in recent years, you will already have heard of the Marlborough wine region, situated in the North of South Island. Chances are you’ll already have tried a Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc, or perhaps one from Villa Maria, or Oyster Bay. But visiting this region is something else, and winemakers will be quick to explain that they do a lot more than just excellent sauvignon blanc…
The best way to get around is undoubtedly by bike or private transfer, although all the wineries, large and small, have car parking available, or will call you a taxi if required, and some even have a place to rest your head if the thought of leaving is just too unbearable.
Each winery caters to a different palate – take Cloudy Bay, for example, a moderately sized operation with a full length window through from the tasting area to the barrel room, so you can watch the magic happen, or Hans Herzog with its Mediterranean inspired garden and high teas, or if you’re visiting in Winter, perhaps consider running in the annual half marathon at St Clair Estate before sitting back and relaxing with a glass of their best riesling.
The Georges Michel winery , tiny and unashamedly French, only opens summer weekends, but gives you an intensely personalised and tailored tasting, while the array of wines on offer at Riverlands winery could be mind-boggling were it not for the expert staff on hand to answer any wine-related question you can think to throw at them.
And the food isn’t bad either – Allan Scott offers a world-class dining experience in their carefully landscaped gardens, Giesen do platters to share next to their character-filled tasting room, Wither Hills offer gourmet menus along with suggested wines for each course, and Cloudy Bay open up Jack’s Raw Bar on summer weekends so you can sample local seafood along with your local wine.
What our travellers enjoyed about the Marlborough Wine Region…
- Heading to the top of Brancott Estate for magnificent views of Marlborough wine country
- Sampling the grapes used in wine-making at Wither Hills
- Taking a cooking class with Michelin-star-experienced chefs at Hans Herzog Estate
- Purchasing a bottle of Cloudy Bay’s revered Te Koko to soften the blow when arriving back home