Bubbly Grape Wine Tours, Blenheim

I like a good name and tagline so ‘Bubbly Grape Wine Tours – we’ll drive you to drink’ had me at the start. Drive us to drink they did – our Gourmet Wine Lunch Tour took us to 6 cellar doors for tastings and lunch at Brancott Estate.

Bubbly Grape Wine Tour

Bubbly Grape Wine Tour

When you sign up for a Bubbly Grape Tour they ask if there are any wineries you’d like to visit, there may also be some flexibility on the day, so the summary below just gives an idea of where you could go. The Marlborough Wine Trail Map has … Read the rest

Mills Reef Winery, Tauranga

Tauranga isn’t grape growing country so Mills Reef Winery is an unexpected find. The art deco Mills Reef Winery building gives a clue though as to where the grapes used to make the wines are grown – Hawkes Bay. Red wines are a specialty at Mills Reef and their Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2016 won a trophy award at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards this year. There’s a tasting room onsite so before taking a seat for a meal you can taste some of the wines to help you decide what to order from the wine menu.

We like to … Read the rest

Karikari Estate – New Zealand’s Northernmost Vineyard & Winery

If it’s a sunny, still day on the Karikari Peninsula near the top of the North Island then it’s a good day to visit Karikari Estate Vineyard. Sitting up high on a hill with flowers spilling down its slopes, Karikari Estate is a beautiful spot for a glass of wine. The Karikari wines on the list included two chardonnays, a rose, and two blended reds – Toa Iti and Hell Hole, all $10 a glass.

Stunning view from Karikari Estate

Stunning view from Karikari Estate

Platters are always our choice at wineries and there are two – Artisan ($35) and Antipasti ($65). Seafood dishes, a … Read the rest

Como Villa Estate Vineyard

Como Villa Estate on the outskirts of Alexandra is the most interesting place we’ve ever done a wine tasting. The cellar door and museum are in a stone house that was built in the mid 1860’s by Thomas Oliver.

Thomas was one of the first to plant grape vines in the area, but his primary business was building and operating water races for gold miners, some of the races are still used today for irrigation.

Como Village Estate - cellar door and museum

Como Village Estate – cellar door and museum

Thomas was a successful entrepreneur and he sold Como Villa in 1874 and moved to Dunedin to … Read the rest

A Winery Platter Tour of New Zealand

Petrolly, fallen over, and foxy are all wine tasting descriptors (thanks Wikipedia). Cat pee is another, and often describes the smell of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Cat pee smell aside, visiting wineries for a platter and a glass of wine is one of the pleasures we’ve discovered over the last year or so.

We haven’t been to every winery that serves platters but we’ll give it a good go, any recommendations from readers will be much appreciated. We recommend all wineries listed but if you twisted my drinking arm for three favourites I’d say Mills Reef Winery in Tauranga, … Read the rest

A vine romance in Cromwell

I fell for ‘Blondie’ at Wooing Tree Vineyard, I liked her “delightful aromas of peaches and cream”. Next I fell for a love story ….. a couple met over a glass of Wooing Tree, a few years later they said their vows at the vineyard. The couple continue a long tradition of Wooing Tree romance.

The Wooing Tree

The Wooing Tree

The vineyard takes its name from a large pine tree, affectionately known by locals as the Wooing Tree. The tree could have succumbed to a chainsaw when the vineyard was being developed – the new owners were unaware it was Cromwell’s lovers … Read the rest

Staying Curious in Marlborough Wine Country

A silver coin was planted at Montana Wines (now Brancott Estate) in 1973 as a token of good fortune, in 1975 the first sauvignon blanc vines were planted out of curiosity. In 1990 the sauvignon blanc was awarded the ‘Marquis de Goulaine trophy for best Sauvignon Blanc’ at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London.

Curiousity helped bring good fortune to Brancott Estate who in turn helped put New Zealand sauvignon blanc on tables around the world.

Brancott Estate

Brancott Estate

These days Marlborough is the largest wine producing region in the country, according to Wine Marlborough it produces 77% of … Read the rest