Memories of the Good Old Days
Summer Wine tasting
Vineyard Views 2022
The vines are developing well in spite of gloomy recent weather. Bring on the sunshine and the heat ! Some are already receiving a “haircut” to reduce the straying long canes but care must be taken to maintain sugar production ( some leaves are better than others ! )
It seems that one of our falcons has had a bird’s eye view of the vines from the courtyard….
Marlborough’s Barrel Halls
The earliest barrel cellar on the South Island was built by David Herd at Auntsfield in the 1870’s. He pioneered growing grapes and making wine in Marlborough – starting as early as 1873. For the next century, wine making was very much only a hobby in Marlborough and it was not until 1973 when the first commercial plantings of vines was undertaken. The varieties were not the best (Muller Thurgau !!) but by the 1980’s some decent varieties were in the ground – Sav Blanc, Chardonnay and Piont Noir and others.
And now for something more modern, but we still use oak barrels
Winter has now done it’s worst to Marlborough ( I hope ! ) and the wineries are slowly drying out. Two downpours a week apart really challenged the drainability of our valley soils and some vines looked rather sad under feet of water.
Rain aside, we have had some great winter tours – taking advantage of the small number of visitors to the area. The fire places in the cellar doors are very popular and staff have been very accommodating by offering tastings around their fires ….
Red wine and winter – what a perfect combo !
The Marlborough grape harvest is in full swing. Hand harvest is done by teams of Pacific islanders plus folk from Eastern Asia and all the backpackers – they are rapidly working their way through the premium blocks as the nets are lifted, much to the relief of the scattered bird flocks ! Our tours have been able to view both the “hand harvest” and the grape harvesters in full swing. Cold early mornings for the pickers and long hours in the vineyards for the machinery.
The Pinot is in, is of outstanding quality and the proud makers of our Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines will probably declare this as a “Vintage” year. Although slightly down on tonnage due to the foul weather a couple of months ago, the Sav. quality is really good and fruitiness will again distinguish our Sav. wine from the rest of the world. Pairing with oysters, scallops and mussels will still dominate the culinary recommendations but at the end of the day, eat the food that you like with the wine varietal that works best for you.
We eagerly await the arrival of the 2019 vintages towards the end of the year and our wine tours will have a new range of superb bottles to taste. Let the fun begin !
Companies in other parts of the world run very successful wine tours – why not look them up and maybe join them for a similar wine tasting experience.
Calling all British Lions Fans
The British and Irish Lions are coming !
In less than a year, New Zealand will be swarming with British Lions fans. Of course, the focus of your stay will be the various games of rugby scattered throughout our 2 large islands, but there is lots of time to enjoy yourselves in between games. Our main centers will be overflowing, but places like Marlborough are ready to show the Brits what the true New Zealand is all about.
Marlborough is most famous for the vineyards in the surrounding Wairau valley and the dominant product is our world renown Sauvignon Blanc wines. Even the French cannot compete in blind tastings ( a bit like their rugby !).
All rugby fans are encouraged to visit Marlborough in between games and where better to base yourselves for the games in Wellington at the end of June. Our accommodation is more affordable than Wellington and we are a 25 minute flight away for the games. Alternatively, the ferry link through the stunning Queen Charlotte Sound, can take hundreds to and from each game.
Come and enjoy our hospitality and wine and we even have 2 breweries to cater for the die-hard hops fans. The Jade Owl B and B is ready to join our motels and hotels in offering affordable, comfortable beds for weary British fans, struggling to come to terms with the enormity of the All Black challenge !
Come to Marlborough – spoil yourselves.
We have decided on a new type of glass for use on our Wine Tours around Marlborough.
Spillage is not allowed and every effort must be made to retrieve every drop for tasting. Sniffing the aromas will be a distinct challenge.
When all is lost, some spares will be made available……….
How’s this for Kiwi recycling of wine barrels at Marlborough’s Whitehaven Winery?