We spent Easter Sunday in quite a different way to usual, by setting off first thing in the morning from Wellington taking the Interislander Ferry over to Picton on the South Island. The 92km journey over the Cook Strait takes about 3 hours, so it was a fair way to go for a day trip.
For the first part of the trip, we managed to get some good seats in the covered viewing deck. We did venture up to the top deck, but it was extremely windy as you might well imagine. However, there was also an open air deck lower down, where we stood for a while. It was a bit misty, but we still got a fantastic view.
The start of the journey
The top deck
Sailing to Picton
We arrived in Picton, and had about an hour before our wine tour started, so we took a short walk around the small town, which increases in size from around 3,000 inhabitants to about 21,000 during the summer months! We got into the mini bus, complete with chatty driver, and then set off to visit 4 wineries.
The Marlborough region is New Zealand’s leading wine region, as well as the most well known. Sauvignon blanc is of course the most famous type of wine from the region, and certainly the sort that most people associate with New Zealand wines, but there is some excellent pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay and riesling being produced as well.
We started at Forrest Wines, where we each tasted 4 different wines, making sure to try different ones, from a long list. My favourite here was a rich pinot noir. From there we went to Nautilus Wines. We sampled a couple of sparkling wines here as well as a really good sauvignon blanc, of which we bought a bottle.
Grapes at Forrest Wines
A bottle we brought home
From there we went to Hunter’s Wines, where we were served our tasting selection by the owner of the company, Jane Hunter. I think my favourite here was the chardonnay, which had wonderful citrus tones to it. Our final stop was at Drylands, part of the Constellation Brands group which includes popular brands like Selaks and Kim Crawford.
Boxes of wine
It was a great day out, and also allowed us to see a tiny corner of the South Island. On the journey back we sat in the Premium Plus Lounge, with comfortable seating, free food and drink and wifi. It was a long day, but definitely worth it, and something I would recommend.