Tuesday, 3 March 2015


The Marlborough area is the heart of New Zealand’s wine country, so we thought it only proper that we visited a few cellar doors. Marlborough’s climate suits the growing of grapes as it is one of the sunniest areas of the country. Most of New Zealand's weather comes in from the south-west, and to the south and west Marlborough is flanked with mountains that help to shield the region from cloud cover. Of course wine is produced in other parts of the country too, but Marlborough produces by far the largest volume of New Zealand's wine.

Cycling between vineyards around Renwick we had a backdrop of the mountains and worryingly, a bush fire was raging in the distance. We visited some boutique wineries and some more mainstream blended varieties. Accompanying the free tasters the wine aficionados gave us a tutorial in the horticultural and wine production techniques. We discovered that, this being our second wine tour (the first was the Claire Valley in Australia), we were by now becoming dab hands at making the right noises and selecting a few choice words on supping; "Mmmm, do you pick up complex stony layers with lingering hints of lime and lemon cheesecake darling?"

Names like Cloudy Bay, Brancott Estate and Wither Hills were know to us. My favourite was Gibson Bridge, which produced peachy Pinot Gris and a marmalade like desert wine called Sweet 16 which tasted so good I'd prefer it to a desert.

Bush fire rages in the dry forests next to Renwick

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