Sunday, March 20, 2011

Over The Hills And Far Away

On Saturday, we hired an SUV and took the parents out to Martinborough, a town to the east of Wellington over the Rimutaka mountain range. Martinborough is based around a wine economy, and there are a number of vineyards within walking distance of the town centre, although we decided to drive so as not to wear ourselves out too much. It was a lovely warm sunny day, and possibly a little too hot for extended walking.

With no particular plan in mind, we first visited the tourist information centre, who provided us with a map of the vineyards which also indicated which ones were open to the public, and which had catering facilities.

First stop was the oldest vineyard in the region, and the one that bagged naming rights: the Martinborough Vineyard. We tasted several of their wines, and I bought a couple of bottles of their pinot gris. Most of the vineyards produce a range of varietals, but the standout wines are the pinot noirs.

After that we headed round the corner to Margrain, where we tasted their sparkling wine as well as the pinots, chardonnay and rieslings. They make two very different reislings, and I picked up some of the sweeter variety for drinking with Thai food. I also got a bottle of their botrytis sauvignon blanc, which has an unusual herby flavour to it.

It was getting on to one o'clock, so next place we headed to was Vynfields, which is an organic vineyard. Despite this, we decided it was worth going to! They have a slightly different approach to marketing, and provide you with a tasting tray of wines for $15/20 (depending on how much wine you want to drink), rather than the $5 tasting fees that the other vineyards charge (which is refunded if you buy any wine). We also had lunch there – a shared platter of antipasto and cheeses with bread. Together with the wine, it made for a very enjoyable, lazy lunch out in the sunshine.

At this point I handed over driving duties to Nicola, as she had been abstaining from the tastings. We headed back into the town centre to pick up postcards from tourist information, then drove back over the mountains to Wellington.

This was our first visit to Martinborough, but I’m sure it won’t be our last – there are plenty more vineyards for us to try, and we intend to work our way around them systematically (or haphazardly, which seems more likely). Then we’ll go back to the beginning and start again.

For those of you who are interested, Martinborough Vineyards wines are available from Majestic and Victoria wine; whilst Margrain wines are available in Oddbins. Go check them out, and enjoy!


  1. Looks fabulous ! The most relaxing and groovy way to spend a day. I'm envious.

    The parent folk look exceedingly happy, but hey, what's not to . . . .etc ?

    We've been cycling in the sunshine (yes, sunshine !) here. A very physical weekend with two jogging efforts by me and lots of playgrounds, tree climbing and cycling for the kidlets.

    Skype soon.

    H x

  2. By the way, you won't believe this but HRH King Lenny of Beige is coming to Deal ! So, the mountain comes . . .
    How perfectly splendid is this ?
    The Astor Theatre will never have seen the like. It's in my diary, 16 April.
    Dusting off my feather boa . . .