In Marlborough, day 3, my last in New Zealand

The last day of my New Zealand trip turned out to be a very good one. It began at Te Whare Ra, a small 11 hectare vineyard planted in 1979, and run since 2003 by Anna and Jason Flowerday.

It was a lovely visit: they are doing great work in the vineyard, and it is paying [...]

A second day in Marlborough, New Zealand

So day 2 in New Zealand’s most important wine region. Lots to be done, beginning with a regional tasting held at Spy Valley, a winery located in the lower Waihopai Valley. There was a range of wines: some excellent, and some reminding us that Marlborough can achieve mediocrity quite easily in the wrong hands.

Paul [...]

The Marlborough wine region, day 1

Leaving Waipara behind, after an all-too-short sleep, it was time to head to Blenheim on a 19-seat Beechcraft. I had the best part of three days in this, New Zealand’s largest wine region. My goal was to visit a mix of small, medium and large producers.

I began small (by Marlborough standards, at least), visiting Ruud [...]

Waipara Valley wine region and the Summer of Riesling event

Day 2 in Waipara Valley, North Canterbury. It’s a beautifully sunny day, with vivid colours and temperatures in the high 20s. Just the day for a walk through the vineyards. And lots of Riesling.   It’s the Summer of Riesling event, which involves christening the new vineyard walking trail that’s just [...]

In New Zealand, day 6, the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury

It was hard to leave Queenstown. After an epic few days, I was very tired, so on Monday morning I sat outside, had a bowl of teriyaki noodles and drank a diet coke, before heading to the airport to fly to Christchurch. It was time for the summer of Riesling to begin.

We started off, though, [...]

In New Zealand, and the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration bows out in style

So I’m having such a fun and intense time here in New Zealand, I’m finding it hard to blog every day. But here goes. Sunday saw the final day of the Pinot Noir celebration and it began with a grand Burgundy tasting, chaired by Nick Mills of Rippon, with celebrity guest Aubert de Villane of [...]

In New Zealand day 4, celebrating Central Otago Pinot Noir with enthusiasm

Day 4 of my visit was a long, enjoyable one. We began with a drive out to the lovely Northburn station, just out of Cromwell. This was to be the setting for the grand tasting of Central Otago Pinot Noir, with 40 wineries showing two wines each: current release plus an older bottle. This [...]

In New Zealand, day 3, The Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration starts

This is turning into a very good trip. Day three began with two visits. The first was at Grasshopper Rock, with Phil Handford. Phil lives in Hamilton, and has a background in agricultural banking, He found the perfect vineyard in Alexandra (the picture above is Clyde, the main town here), and now makes 4000 cases a [...]

In New Zealand, day 2, Central Otago

An early start, time for a 7 am run around the lake in Queenstown, through the botanic gardens. You can just keep on going for as far as you want, and it’s a really beautiful place to run. So much better than squelching through the winter mud. Then a shower, packing belongings, and off to Cromwell [...]

In New Zealand, day 1, Queenstown, Gibbston Valley and Chard Farm

I arrived in Queenstown late Tuesday morning, and I wasn’t feeling too bad. The flight down from Auckland was a beautiful one: you need to get a window seat on the left of the plane (which I did), and then you enjoy superb views of the alps and the fabulous descent into Queenstown airport.

I checked [...]