The Marlborough Region of New Zealand’s South Island is now considered to be one of the finest wine-growing areas in the world. From boutique wineries with local specialties to international exports to over 70 countries, this region’s soil types, abundant sunshine, long autumns and crisp, cool winters provide the perfect ingredients to produce delicious world class wines.
Marlborough has 142 wineries, 544 grape growers and more than 17,000 hectares in active grape production. With it’s claim of The Sunniest Region in New Zealand, Marlborough’s main varietals are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. However, popular wines grown in smaller quantities include Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer as well as grapes for Marlborough Sparkling Wine (methode traditionelle). This area has also become the gourmet center of New Zealand, where fine dining is expressed in first-class local produce and superb Marlborough wines.
Wine Trivia – Did you know?
* Each vine needs 8 liters of water a day when fully grown and bearing fruit.
* To protect against last season frosts, helicopters fly over the vineyards to stir warm air over the vines. At a cost of $1,600 per hour!
* Screw caps breathe at a more consistent and slower rate than corks. White wines benefit from opening for 10 minutes before pouring.
Best Way To See The Wineries?
Most of the Marlborough Wine Trail is within easy driving distance of Blenheim, Picton, Havelock, and the Marlborough Sounds. Pick up a Wine Trail Map and plan your day or let someone else do the driving! Wine tours by van or bus are a wonderful way to see the area and enjoy the tastings. Sounds Connection took us by van on a full-day tour to visit seven wineries with tastings and a delicious lunch at Wither Hills Tasting Room Restaurant.
If you’re not afraid to “Drink and Bike” consider taking a tour of the wineries by bicycle! Maps, helmets, and wine carriers included.
Here are some of the many vineyards you can visit in the Marlborough region: