We wake in the morning to the sound of very strong gusty winds. Is it raining? I don’t know, I am not sure I would be able to hear it over the wind. This is so disappointing. I have booked bicycles to tour the vineyards on, this is not the type of weather you want to be riding a bike in!
We have a lazy start to the morning. The first vineyard doesn’t open until 11am. Fortunately the rain mostly stops and the wind seems like it has died down enough to make riding bikes possible. We didn’t really have a plan B!
We head down to Green Jerseys to pick up our bikes. (Helmets are also provided) I had suggested we hire the tandem bike but Daniel wasn’t into that idea. Maybe he thinks I will sit at the back and not peddle (highly likely!)
And so our cycling adventure begins. I am pretty wobbly at first, but I quickly get the hang of it. I am surprised at how unfit I am. I do a lot of walking, I guess this is just a different type of fit. Daniel of course is very competent and well, what can I say, he is not really a companion rider. He zooms off and I have to try and keep up because my sense of direction is just appalling.
We have decided to go to the furthest vineyard first and then slowly make our way back to town, stopping in at the different places along the way. We ride past green fields, the golf course, cute little spring time lambs grazing, and of course grape vines. I am feeling hot and flushed but having so much fun!
After what feels like ages (it was actually only 15 minutes) we arrive at our first stop, Te Kairanga Wines and are are greeted by Otto the dog, a very enthusiastic little cutie.
Te Kairanga, or TK, was established back in 1984 and is one of the oldest vineyards in area. The founder of Martinborough, John Martin, once owned this land, and his 130 year old cottage still remains. TK cellar door offer tastings of their wines as well as wines from Martinborough vineyard, which is home to the oldest vines in Martinborough. After our educational wine tasting tour in Queenstown, we are now able to taste these wines like pros. The vines here are nearly 40 years old. I learn that old vines produce a much smaller yield, but the flavour is more intense. After several tastings and making a few purchases, we make our way to our next stop.
Moy Hall. We are cycling into a head wind but I am happy and full of wine so I don’t mind. I actually seem to be even better at peddling now I have had a few glasses! It’s a bustling place, they do sharing plates and we have arrived at lunchtime. Fortunately I pre booked and we are shown to our table in an outdoor marquee looking out across the vineyard. Being a vegetarian and Daniel being a big meat eater, sharing plates isn’t the best for us, but the menu looked so great I wanted to give it a try. Delicious and quite large portions, the warm broccoli salad and a side of fresh bread and local olive oil was plenty. But then for dessert, I thought I’d branch out and try something different. I ordered the cheese. Why did I order the cheese? Don’t get me wrong, it was nice, but when it said soft cheese, I was expecting some sort of fresh, soft mozzarella, not a super fragrant rind covered cheese. Daniel ordered Moy Mess (Pavlova, berries and cream) and I had serious plate envy.
Onto Colombo Martinborough, a modern, swanky looking place with simple, minimalistic decor and freshly made pizza. I am way too full from lunch but their pizzas look divine! We are here during level 2 lock down so instead of offering tradition wine tasting at their cellar door, they are doing ‘flight wine’ – you choose the size paddle you want and then choose what to fill it with from a selection of wines on offer.
We then head to Haythornthwaite. It’s quite an interesting place. Not modern and flashy like Colombo, but set in a lovely garden full of blossoms. I have been holding out to try their gewurztraminer. I have recently discovered this wine and I love it. Sadly they are sold out. It must have been good! They do however have some reasonably aged wines available for tasting and was surprised to learn that you can cellar white wines. I always just thought that was something you did with red wines. Along with wine, there is also a selection of home made jams and preserves you can purchase.
Our final stop of the day is Schubert Wines We arrive only a few minutes before closing so it’s a bit of a rushed tasting but we leave the place with a 2019 dolce dessert wine and a 2016 magnum pinot noir. Daniel. He always likes to be extravagant!
I highly recommend hiring bikes and cycling around the vineyards, they are all so close together and it’s a really fun way to spend the day. The whole bike hire process with Green Jerseys was super simple and they offer wine collection. When you make a purchase, just text them the name of the vineyard and how many bottles you bought. They then zip round in their van at the end of the day and pick up all your purchases! So easy.
When we arrive back at the shop, our large box of wine is ready to go.