Friday, October 2, 2009

Bike Wine Tour Through Marlborough Vineyards, Blenheim


Marlborough Vineyards

While in Blenheim, CK and I decided to do a wine tour by bike. We wanted to take it slow, and get some exercise at the same time.

Marlborough is internationally known for its Sauvignon Blancs. The climate and soil in the Marlborough region is the reason for its aromatic, acidic, and herbaceous wine characteristics. It is New Zealand's largest wine producing region, and the 110 wineries & 450 grape growers make up about 80% of New Zealand's total wine production. In addition to Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough wineries also produce Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir.

Cloudy Bay Winery

The primary wine bike tour company in Blenheim is Wine Tours By Bike; however, to pump up our hearts and to save some money in the process, we decided to rent bikes in the city at Spokesman. Doing so will add 6km to the journey, but you do save $15 per person.

Wine Tour By Bike, Blenheim

Maps of different wineries in the area were provided to us, and we just zoned in on where we wanted to go.

The climate in the Marlborough region is also great for olive groves. Marlborough olive oils are light, grassy, and peppery in taste. All the oils are cold pressed, and the majority are extra virgin. A great place for olive oil tasting is The Vines Village. We ended up purchasing a lovely Tussock chilli pepper infused extra virgin olive oil.

Marlborough Olive Oils
Marlborough Olive Oils at The Vines Village

Another great culinary experience in the area is the award winning Hans Herzog winery and restaurant. In the 90's, Hanz and Therese Herzog left their Michelin-rated resto in Switzerland to start a life in Blenheim. You can try the 3- or 5-course Herzog degustation menu along with a wine from their prestigious wine list. Afterwards, you can enjoy a treat from their cigar or digestives menu. If very keen, they also offer cooking classes.

Unfortunately, Herzog restaurant is only open between the months of Oct - May, so we missed the opening by a couple of weeks.

CK and I had a great time doing the bike tour but some things to note:

- it is very windy this time of year, and you may end up biking into headwind for part of the ride. We experienced that first hand!
- In order to get the the wineries, you will need to bike along highways with speed limits of 100km/h. If that is out of your comfort zone, I'd steer away from biking.

Some other things we saw along the way:

Jersey Cow
Jersey Cow

Cherry Trees
Cherry Trees