NZ Wine Country

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November 25th 2005
Published: January 23rd 2006
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Getting the tourGetting the tourGetting the tour

Jon got us the back stage pass
Jon and I can cook, were pretty good and we enjoy it. I however lack wine knowledge that he doesn't. I can't even pretend to know what questions to ask. 'Shallow depth of topsoil makes grapes work harder producing a more robust fruit.' Nope, that would get by me every single time. In that aspect I'm Jack's absent minded taste bud, no NZ wine tastes that bad or deserves a wrinkled up nose and stiff elbow-head severely titled pose as if one more smell would ruin the rest of the day.

So with a large portion of our time set aside for winery visits I got to wander around sipping happily and snapping photos of areas I probably shouldn't be while Jon asked intelligent questions. To address my inadequacy in the knowledge dept I would get a recap in the car. Build it up slowly I guess.

Napier and Hastings held the first round of winery visits, art deco towns that look a bit muddled in their planned styles but home to some of New Zealand's finest. Napier had a bit of the Kuta feel to it, deserted. We rolled in on fumes and took a wander down the
Gimblett GravelGimblett GravelGimblett Gravel

This area was known for shallow top soil down into an ancient river bed. The area was very careful on what could bear the Gimblett Gravel seal, 95% of the grapes I believe.
main bit and felt as though we weren't let in on some joke.

What this did mean though was complete attention at the cellar doors themselves. We felt as though we were given a special appointment with a representative that was determined to answer any question, show us any variety and give us a personal tour if we were so inclined. Typical laid back Kiwi style, we were even given recommendations of which competitors were worth a visit.

Through out the wanders from place to place we kept running into several people on organized tours and its when I discovered their real purpose, designated drivers. Of the two tours we talked to the guide didn't bother to say anything useful and was thoroughly bored but hey kick back a few more glasses and hop in the van.

In the south island we enjoyed a thanksgiving dinner of lamb and wine in Marlebrough with a scatty German restaurateur. You get five minutes of small talk with her and no more. Thinking of the feast our families were enjoying back home prompted us to find the place which was sandwiched between vineyards on all sides.

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


In the backIn the back
In the back

Every one was very keen when it came to lengthy questions.
Local mastersLocal masters
Local masters

Wine making is considered very young in many parts of NZ. The talent is mostly self taught Kiwis enrolling in local wine making colleges
Black Barn VineyardsBlack Barn Vineyards
Black Barn Vineyards

The locals sent us here for the red wines.
Closed, thanksClosed, thanks
Closed, thanks

This mom and pop vineyard wasn't open to the public

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