I was looking forward to this part of our trip every since we realised we were travelling through the Marlborough region! A day where someone drives you around and encourages you to drink lots of wine, with a two course lunch fitted in between, perfect!
We were picked up by our wine tour company Bubbly Grape at 10am, and taken to our first vineyard. On arrival we were given a list of all the wines that we would be trying, from Sauvignon Blanc, to Chardonnay, to Pinot Noir. When asked which wines we liked/disliked, I had to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of Chardonnay or Rosé. To which I got the response, ‘after today you will be converted’!
So with an open mind we proceeded to work our way down the list…
^^ Wither Hills ^^
^^ Another beautiful day in Marlborough ^^
^^ Oak Barrels ^^
^^ Stainless Steel barrels – which we now know make a huge difference in the taste of the wine (i’m a steel wine fan) ^^
Alice has been wine tasting before and so had said how generous she thought the testers were, but I was quite surprised myself at how much we were poured in the first place, considering how many bottles they had lined up for us. You start off drinking everything whether you like it or not out of politeness over not wanting to throw perfectly good wine away. However you soon learnt that unless you have a iron stomach, there is no way you can drink every sample you are given if you plan on staying standing through until the last vineyard at 4pm
^^ 11am wine, don’t mind if I do ^^
Included in our package, we had a full day of wine tasting (four vineyards in the morning), two course lunch with wine & coffee at midday, followed by two more vineyards in the afternoon (and a quick stop at the chocolate shop on the way home).
For lunch we stopped at Allan Scott vineyard and had some lovely food (with wine of course). We ate the mains too fast to photograph, but here are some photos of our desserts. I went for the cheesecake, no surprise there. And Alice the trifle.
^^ Such a nice building and sun room where we dined ^^
We visited a number of different vineyards. Some large, corporate style ones, and some smaller family owned. I’m glad we got to experience both, but I don’t think now looking back I could say I preferred one over the other. I have favourite vineyards from the day, one is a larger company and the other a smaller family run one. I think it is good to support the smaller companies, so I am glad I now know some names to look out for. But at the end of the day the wine tasted good from both and so if Louis Vuitton wants to supply me my wine, i’ll buy!
^^ Cloudy Bay (the Louis Vuitton owned vineyard)
I stand by my opinion on Chardonnay and Rosé. I wouldn’t say I disliked the ones they gave me, I was surprised at the Chardonnay, however I cannot say it has changed my opinion on them, nor would I now go buy a bottle to drink at home. I still just love a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
^^ Sense jars – take a sniff and guess the scent ^^
^^ Deck-chairs for those weary wine drinkers ^^
^^ Giesen Vineyard ^^
^^ A wine periodic table! Genius ^^
The above was from a vineyard chosen specially for us. The Forrest vineyard is owned by two Doctors, one of medicine and one of science. It was such a beautiful vineyard and they had some really quirky wines (courtesy of John Forrest), as a result of lots of experiments trying new flavours. Their signature The Doctors’ range has such a great label and tasted so good (one of my favourites), and so we were really happy to hear they have stockists in the UK.
A perfect last day spent on the South Island, and another thing ticked off my ‘list of things to do’. South Island, you have been a blast. I will definitely be back.