The Marlborough region is not just famous for its picturesque Marlborough Sounds, but in fact is probably more well known as being New Zealand’s leading wine producing area. It's estimated to be producing around an astounding 75% of the country’s wine (insert shocked face emoji). The contrast in the weather conditions make this area an ideal environment for growing the perfect grapes - warm and sunny days, followed by cool nights.
Marlborough is tucked away in a beautiful area of New Zealand, at the northern tip of the South Island amongst the plains of the Wairau River. There are vineyards around every corner and at times stretch as far as the eye can see. The most popular wine in the region is Sauvignon blanc, which is praised by wine lovers around the world, closely followed by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
There are a few ways to get around the area:
You can map out your own self-drive route... but what's the fun in that? Someone has to stay sober!
Travel in style in a chauffeur driven car... rock up like a boss - yes way, rosé!
Join a winery tour, get a little sloshed and make some new friends.
Or if you are feeling really adventurous, mix up your daily exercise with a cycle tour... Me + Wine + Bike = Disaster!
If you are coming from Wellington (or on your way to Wellington), it's a short 20 minute plane ride over the Cook Strait, or a three-hour ferry ride with Interislander. The ferry gives you time to soak up the sun while you take in the beautiful scenery of the Sounds. But just watch the weather conditions - I can confirm from experience that on a rough day the journey isn't much fun!
With limited time in the area, I decided to pick just one of my favourite wineries to visit - Wither Hills.
It is one of the larger wineries in Marlborough and named after the impressive Wither Hills ranges which sit behind the vineyards.
The story behind the winery began with just one man, a local winemaker. He wasn’t seeking fame and fortune, but had a desire to craft the very best wine from its beautiful surroundings - to capture the beauty of Marlborough in a glass.
The cellar door sits high on a grassy knoll with sweeping views of the Wairau Valley, Richmond Ranges and obviously, Wither Hills. As you walk up to the building, it’s impossible to miss the dramatic and oversized wooden doors which make it feel like you are about to enter a castle. But the atmosphere completely changes as soon as you enter the tasting area and restaurant - it becomes contemporary and very sophisticated.
The alfresco terrace and lawn area is the perfect spot to bask in the sun with some wine, complete with beanbags and umbrellas, or you can cosy up in front of the open fire during the winter months. What else could you ask for?
Whatever you choose to do, Marlborough Region is a perfect day trip or long weekend getaway. If you want to visit more than one winery, my recommendation would be to jump on a tour, see a few wineries, get a little bit tipsy and soak up that sun. A perfect day if you ask me!
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