After a few days in Nelson, we left on Sunday morning for the Marlborough wine region - stopping only for coffee and a lunch of local green-lipped mussels at a cafe in the Havelock Marina. Another beautiful day of sunshine - hooray!
We arrived in Renwick and were greeted by the owner of the Watson's Way backpackers, Paul. I wasted no time and rented a bicycle to ride through the vineyards and take photos of the rich, warm colourful vines lit up in the late afternoon light, stopping at Forrest estate for a complimentary wine tasting session.
That evening, I met some wonderful people at Watson's Way: Federico, a friendly Italian musician who was starting a job pruning the vines, Julia and Bettina, 2 young German women who were looking for work in the area and also, the 2 lovely owners - Paul and Pat.
Federico, Julia, Bettina and I had a great evening chatting over food and wine and commiserating about the cold weather. Later on, Paul popped in and i asked him why Kiwi men insist on wearing shorts even when it's freezing cold and they have woollen beanies and warm jackets on and he said, "It's coz we have sexy legs and wanna show them off".
Julia and Bettina invited me to go cycling through the Marlborough valley with them and try some wines at a few of the organic wine estates in the valley. We hired some lovely, easygoing road bikes from the hostel and packed a few nibbles for a picnic and then away we went with the cool breeze blowing through our hair!
First stop: No1 Family Estate - the only estate in New Zealand with a French owner from the Champagne Region producing sparkling wine made in the methode traditional. We sampled a few of their finest bubbles and I bought their "Star" sparkling wine which the lady kindly offered to deliver to the hostel so I wouldn't have to carry it around on my bicycle!
Second stop: the Hans Herzog Estate, which is owned by a Swiss winemaker who makes a wide variety of wines but in small quantities. For $5, we tried the Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Merlot Cabernet and Montepulciano. All their wines are both organic and biodynamic and the winetasting was hosted by a very knowledgeable young vintner-in-training.
Our final stop for the day was at Seresin Estate which is situated at the top of a hill overlooking the valley. The estate is surrounded by olive trees and visitors are greeted by a huge sculpture of monolithic rocks - it's the perfect setting for a picnic and that's exactly what we did whilst tasting their amazing organic wines!