Marlborough is NZ’s biggest, and one of the New World’s leading wine-producing areas (Lonely Planet).
We spent a full day touring and tasting and although driving felt rather tipsy by the end. Around 106 wineries blanket the Wairau Plain around Blenheim and Renwick but we only managed to tour a few. There was free wine tasting in all and complimentary cheese and biscuits in some.
Apparently, the sunny days and nocturnal sea airs creeping in from Cloudy Bay create the perfect microclimate for cool-climate grapes: famous Sauvignon Blanc, plus gewurztraminer, riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir – can you tell it was copied from a tourist brochure. Here’s some more brochure info for you wine lovers:
- Marlborough has 106 wineries, 428 grape growers and 11,475 hectares in grape production.
- Produces 113,000 tonnes of grapes a year.
- The industry generates more than $400 million.
- Contribution to the local economy in terms of flow on effects is more than $120 million.
- In winter helicopters circle the crops regularly to circulate the air and to ward off frost.
- Each vine needs about 10 litres of water per day when fully-grown and bearing fruit.
- Some of the more famous wineries in the area include: Clowdy Bay, Montana, Matua and Isabel.
Driving through the area was nice, so very quite and peaceful but not not quite as picturesque as we were expecting. We had imagined it to resemble the French or Italian wineries, but it wasn’t to be, but still a great day out!