Marlborough is NZ’s vinous colossus, producing around three-quarters of the country’s wine. At last count, there were 244 sq km of vines planted – that’s more than 28,000 rugby pitches! Sunny days and cool nights create the perfect conditions for cool-climate grapes: world-famous sauvignon blanc, top-notch pinot noir, and notable chardonnay, riesling, gewürztraminer, pinot gris and bubbly. Drifting between tasting rooms and dining among the vines is a quintessential South Island experience.

A Taste of the Tastings

Around 35 wineries are open to the public. Our picks of the bunch provide a range of high-quality cellar-door experiences, with most being open from around 10.30am till 4.30pm (some scale back operations in winter). Wineries may charge a small fee for tasting, normally refunded if you purchase a bottle. Pick up a copy of the Marlborough Wine Trail map from Blenheim i-SITE, also available online at www.wine-marlborough.co.nz. If your time is limited, pop into Wino’s in Blenheim, a sterling one-stop shop for some of Marlborough’s finer and less common drops.

Auntsfield Estate

Bladen

Brancott Estate Heritage Centre

Clos Henri Vineyard

Cloudy Bay

Forrest

Framingham

Huia

Saint Clair Estate

Spy Valley Wines

Te Whare Ra

Vines Village

Wairau River

Yealands Estate

Best Wining & Dining

With wine there must be food, and here are our recommendations for dining among the vines. Opening hours are for summer, when bookings are recommended.

Arbour

Wairau River Restaurant

Rock Ferry

Wither Hills

Wine Tours

Wine tours are generally conducted in a minibus, last between four and seven hours, take in four to seven wineries and range in price from $65 to $95 (with a few grand tours up to around $200 for the day, including a winery lunch).