The Best Wine Tasting In New Zealand

The Best Wine Tasting in New Zealand

If you know me you will know that I love a glass bottle of wine! Now I am no wine connoisseur –  I can’t tell you the difference between a Merlot and a Pinot Noir – but I do know that New Zealand makes some seriously amazing wine!

Marlborough is the home of New Zealand wine –  the region is lined with vineyard after vineyard, so you really can’t come here without a day of wine tasting! Before booking our day, we looked at our options and found there were so many different forms of wine tasting! Many of the organised coach or mini bus tours we found were quite pricey and the nature of the day meant the visits we very structured. So we were super excited when we stumbled across ‘Bike2Wine’ and thought what better way to really experiences the individual wineries than cycling around them!

The pros to a self cycled bike tour…

-You can go at your own pace and enjoy each winery for as long (or as little) as you like!

-You can get as boozy as you like, (as long as you can cycle home!)

-It was a fraction of the cost of the organised tours – only $30 per bike for the whole day!

-You get some exercise cycling around!

– You can enjoy being outside in the sunshine!

– You can really take in the amazing views when cycling through the vineyards.

Bike2Wine was super easy and no fuss to book over the phone. We hadn’t done anything like this before so were really grateful when we were given lots of advice of what to expect at different wineries, and given a detailed map with all the key places highlighted. There were so many wineries to choose from, we couldn’t visit them all, but this is the route we took…

Gibson Bridge

Our first stop was at a small winery, where we were greeted at the cellar door by one of the owners, Julia. Julia was so welcoming and took the time to talk us through their wine making process. If you like Pinot Gris then this place is a sure winner for you, they have received many awards for this, and despite it being the first time we had tried a Pinot Gris, we were converted – it was amazing! We were offered 4 wines to taste at no cost, with an option to try the more vintage range at $5, we skipped this purely because it was our first stop and there was plenty more wine to drink!

Must try: 2014 Pinot Gris (This is served on Virgin atlantic planes!)

Cost: Free for most wines, small $5 fee to sample their vintage range.

Why visit: Welcoming and friendly – (explaining the cellar door award they received last year!)

Forrest

Next we stopped at Forrest which was a much larger winery, with a beautiful outdoor seating area. Forrest was a great place for us as wine novices because it was so clear! We were given a ‘menu’ of wines available for tasting, with simple tasting notes –  all we had to do was check the boxes we wanted!  We took the opportunity to enjoy our tasting tray in the sunshine on the beanbags outside!

Must Try: The Doctors Sauvignon Blanc

Cost: Free tasting for up to 3 wines/ $7 : Tasting tray of 6 wines (Great value!) / $6: 150ml glass of wine

Why visit: Lovely outside area, perfect on a sunny day!

Nautilus

Nautilus is named after the Nautilus shell – a naturally perfectly formed shell. The staff here know their stuff – for every wine we were offered (which was a lot!) we were told about the process and the tasting notes were explained in detail. Although the wine tasting and staff were excellent, this was not such a great setting to relax and enjoy your wine, so if you are more serious about wine tasting, this could be the place for you.

Must Try: The Brut – they an award for this recently

Cost: Free tasting!

Why visit: To extend your wine knowledge!

Moa

When we were told about Moa, a local brewery, Tom was particularly excited to sample some craft beer and ciders. Unfortunately our experience did not live up to the expectation. We were not told the options but simply shown a sign –  $8 tasting tray or £8 beer. We were not given any explanation or guidance of the different beers available, and reluctantly paid $8 to try a splash of 8 beers, which are chosen for you. Nice(ish) beer (Tom says). Not nice service. (maybe we came on a bad day…)

Must Maybe Try: Moa apple cider

Cost: $8 tasting tray 6 beers/ ciders

Why visit: If you just want a pint!

Cloudy Bay

Welcome to paradise! This place was just perfect! From the moment you enter this place is like a retreat! There are different options for wine tasting, ranging from basic wines to a more premium range. Regardless of which package you choose, you are welcome to enjoy the grounds, which are seriously stunning!  Each taster they pour is given with a clear yet detailed explanation of the tasting notes, and there was an interactive smelling game, to test how well you know your scents… we were not so good at this, but it was fun all the same! There is a outdoor eating area, next to a raw bar serving oysters, or, like us, you can choose to relax in the pod chairs and cosy sofas in the glorious sunshine. We were so relaxed, we fell asleep chilling on the sofas!

Must Try: Their signature wine – Sauvignon Blanc.

Cost: $10: Cloud Bay Experience – 4 wines / $15: Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir Immersion – 4 wines / $25: Cloudy Bay indulge – 5 premium wines

Why visit: To drink wine and relax in paradise!

Huia

Huia is a small a organic winery, and the winery that we found our favourite wine of the day – in fact in New Zealand so far! The lady working there was very knowledgeable about the wines she was serving and had a real passion for what she was doing which was nice. We were offered lots of wine to taste, although the environment and setting wasn’t the most picturesque – it was all about the wine here!

Must Try: Pinot Gris – THE BEST WINE OF THE DAY!

Cost: Free Tasting

Why visit: If you want lots and lots of free wine – seriously generous!

Wairui River

Wairui river was a great option for our last stop of the day. The relaxed staff happily poured us tasters of each wine, whilst having a casual chat about New Zealand, really refreshing after lots of wine talk! They were close to closing, (all of the wineries close between 4 and 5pm), so we didn’t get a chance to look around the outside area. They also have a restaurant which is meant to be very good!

Must Try: The Rose –  Not to sweet at all, and perfect for summers evening

Cost: Free tasting!

Why visit: Enjoy a glass of wine and a relaxed chat!

If you are thinking about going on a wine tour in the Marlborough wine region then I highly recommend a cycling option – We enjoyed the freedom, going at our pace meant we could take our own picnic, and have that cheeky afternoon nap! It was much cheaper, leaving you to spend money on buying wine to take home! And we got to enjoy the stunning views (and the sunshine!) as we cycled around the vineyards…a perfect day!

If spending the day cycling around the best wine region in New Zealand sounds like your perfect day too, visit – www.bike2wine.co.nz 

By | 2017-08-04T04:59:14+00:00 February 8th, 2017|0 Comments

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