If you’ve ever flown to Blenheim and watched the Sea of Vines, you’ll get a good idea of the breathtaking scale of New Zealand’s largest wine region.
On the ground, it’s even more overwhelming, with at least 150 wineries and 30 cellars to visit.
Marlborough has long been synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc, but the region produces over 25 varieties of wine, including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sparkling. So you are sure to find something you like.
Here’s a guide to the must-see Marlborough cellar doors.
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Cloudy Bay is a household name among most wine drinkers. Established in 1985, they were one of Marlborough’s first and most famous wineries, and their revolutionary Sauvignon Blanc would become a poster for the wine region.
Stop by their elegant cellar door for the full Cloudy Bay tasting experience – along with that iconic sav, they also make a magnificent sparkling wine. During the summer months, Jack’s Raw Bar sets up in the courtyard and serves freshly shelled Marlborough oysters and other seasonal dishes inspired by the garden, farm and sea.
Framingham is the vineyard that you are most likely to declare your favorite. Riesling is the specialty here, which immediately sets them apart from others who are obsessed with knowledge. But Framingham produces all kinds of varieties, including more experimental styles released under their limited edition F-Series lineup.
It’s not just the wines that they make differently. You’ll realize it’s not your usual posh cellar door experience when you look down and see music stenciled lyrics on the sidewalk as you walk in. Framingham also serves as a unique concert hall, with their underground wine cellar used for pop-up concerts, while the courtyard hosts the annual Framingham Harvest concert.
Saint Clair family estate
If you are the type of person who loves a golden sticker on your bottle of wine then you will want to visit the Saint Clair Family Estate. This family-run winery has won numerous international awards over the years and is said to produce New Zealand’s most decorated sauvignon blanc.
But don’t be intimidated – their cellar door couldn’t be more welcoming, with their on-site Vineyard Kitchen offering everything from coffee and muffins to refuel between tastings, to the seasonally-inspired breakfasts that can be. tasted quietly among the vines.
A visit to Forrest is exactly what the doctor ordered – literally. Founders (and doctors) John and Brigid Forrest turned to winemaking after successful careers in scientific research and medicine, and since 1988 the family estate has crafted a diverse range of wine styles under their brands Forrest, The Doctors. ‘and Tatty Bogler. .
You’ll feel right at home at their relaxed cellar door, with beanbags, lawn games, and live music on Sunday afternoons. Tasting platters showcase the wide variety of wines they produce, which can be tasted with a selection of cheese platters.
Visiting Clos Henri is the second best thing to a trip to France. This vineyard was created in 2000 by an important family of winegrowers from Sancerre, who wanted a place in the “new world” and settled in Marlborough as the ideal terroir to cultivate their high-end Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Installed in a century-old chapel, their cellar door is one of the prettiest that you will meet. You have to make an appointment to visit, but it’s worth it because usually one of the winegrowers will be available to accompany you in the tastings. There’s also an epicurean tasting experience where local food items are paired with wines, served as an outdoor picnic.
They host fun events throughout the year, like an annual Bastille Day celebration in July and the new South Island Cheese Festival, held over the Waitangi weekend.
Moa Brewing Company
If you’re in the mood for a break from the grapes, look no further than Moa Brewing Co, which has a tasting room tucked incongruously among the vineyards. The local brewery was founded in 2003 and produces a wide range of beers and ciders.
Their taproom offers tastings from the range, which can be enjoyed on picnic tables outside in the sun. They also have a food truck offering tasty bites and live music on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer.
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