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Small Wineries to Visit in Marlborough?

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Aug 22nd, 2011, 12:35 PM
  #1
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Small Wineries to Visit in Marlborough?

Hello, I wanted to collect some impressions from those who have visited wineries in the Marlborough area. My wife and I will be staying at a B&B in Blenheim for a couple of days in the midst of a sort of outdoor adventure trip through New Zealand (mostly the South Island). However, we want to devote our brief time in Marlborough to wine. When we have visited wineries in the past (some in California, some in Italy and France), we have found the small wineries to be the most fun. The tour is more personal (we like hearing the back story of the winemaker), we usually get to sip the wine with someone who works at the winery rather than at the tasting bar, and we appreciate the fact that such tours are usually not crowded. The bigger tours for the popular wineries have something of a mass produced feel, and I think we have had enough winemaking 101 so that we don't need to hear the basic process again at length, however entertainingly delivered. I realize that by visiting small wineries in Marlborough, we may get to places that don't even export their wine to the U.S. That's OK; we'll still have some time in New Zealand after this region. We're also interested in learning about the wines other than sauvignon blanc, which seems to be about the only Marlborough representative that ever gets to our area. Pinot Gris? Pinot Noir? A sparkler or two? Anyway, we'd love suggestions on a few wineries we might try to visit. Thanks!
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Aug 22nd, 2011, 05:01 PM
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I know exactly what you mean midnightsun. I've visited wineries in Napa and I hated the impersonal tasting experience. You'll find wine tasting in NZ (and Australia) an entirely different experience, especially if you go on your own and concentrate on boutique wineries. I'm not a tour person, but I realize they come in handy if you plan to imbibe much.

You might consider renting bikes...there are areas in Marlborough where you can simply bike from one winery to the next.

First off, here's a map that might help you plot your course:

http://www.wine-marlborough.co.nz/do...s_Map_1204.pdf

Here are some wineries that might fit the bill:

St Clair
Seresin (organic)
Bladen
Forest
Herzog

This list describes some of the wineries, gives an idication of their size and the wine they produce:

http://www.marlboroughtours.co.nz/ma...s/wineries.php

Villa Maria is a big producer, but we really enjoyed our visit. We were the only people there - it's not all about the Sav Blanc...we had a fabulous reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir at Villa Maria, and tasted several wines that aren't available outside of NZ.
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Aug 24th, 2011, 09:22 AM
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Melnq8: Thanks for the suggestions; it sounds like your choices will be just the type of places we would like to visit. I have heard of Herzog (because of their restaurant's reputation) but none of the others, although I found that the Sauvignon Blanc I had two nights ago (quite good, not too much grapefruit) from Field of Stones was a subsidiary label for Forrest on your list.

Our B&B suggested that we might do a tour with a company that will take us to wineries of our choosing, and we might consider that. Their website says that they visit eight wineries in four hours, and that, however, sounds way too hectic. I think we're only good for about four (two in the early afternoon...lunch and walking...two later in the afternoon) in a day, which makes it easier to keep halfway sober and gives us more time to linger at each winery. Our B&B does offer bikes, so if we can map out a route that doesn't take us too far from the west side of Blenheim, that might be an alternative to driving.
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