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Upper South Island and the West Coast Travel Guide

Blenheim

People mostly come to Blenheim (pronounced bleh-num by the locals) for the wine. There are dozens of wineries in the area, some with stylish cellar doors and restaurants, and Blenheim township is developing fast, though it still has a small-town veneer.

In 1973 the Montana (pronounced Mon-taa-na here) company paid two Californian wine authorities to investigate local

grape-growing potential on a commercial scale. Both were impressed with what they found. It was the locals who were skeptical—until they tasted the first wines produced. After that, Montana opened the first modern winery in Marlborough in 1977, although there had been fledgling efforts over the past 100 years by pioneering wine growers. The region now has more than 100 vineyards and wineries. The Marlborough Wine and Food Festival held in mid-February each year celebrates the region's success in suitable style.

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