Day Eight – Wine Tour by Bike

Laura Letts Blog take over day.

Today we are cycling from Blenheim to Renwick to visit some wineries, and what a day for it. It’s amazing weather, sunny and warm, perfect for being out on the bikes.

Our plan is to head out from the campsite toward Renwick. First stop is Rockferry vineyard for no other reason than it’s on the way and close! We’re charged $5 each to sample 1 fizz, 2 x whites and 2 x reds. The fizz was drinkable, as was the first white. The second white was ok and the reds were nice. A good benchmark for the day. We decide to rate the wines 1-5, 5 being amazing.

It’s going to be a tough day.

Next stop is Hunter’s, which was founded by Ernie Hunter 30 years ago. In 1986 Hunter’s surprised the wine world by winning the Sunday Times Vintage Festival in the UK putting NZ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on the World Map. 5 years later Ernie was killed in a motor accident and his wife Jane took control, taking the brand from strength to strength. It is still independently run producing some of the Worlds best wines.

Again we were charged $5 and sampled a huge variety of wines and made a lot of tasting notes! Next up was Cloudy Bay, which I’ve been a fan of for a long time and was excited to sample more of their wine.

All I can say is they were ‘safe’, no particularly strong flavours or bold statements, just nice wine. We did have a lovely cheese board with it though.

The final stop was Mahi wines, which was a bit of a cycle away and appointment only, but we’d had an introduction from one of Matt’s Uni mates, Ian, who had been before so we had the Head Winemaker, Brian showing us around.

The welcome lounge was beautiful with natural wood counters, and big sofas and a massive fireplace and Brian proceeded to explain why the area is so perfect for wine making and the process behind it all, by which time we were both keen to taste the wines, and the wait was definitely worth it – amazing wine.

Brian then took us on a tour of the facility which was very impressive, and tasting along the way. We had another round of tasting with the Vintage team from another local winery (Saracen) before we really had to make a move to return the bikes, we still had a long ride to go but the weather was still warm, so it wasn’t going to be too onerous.

500m from the campsite a kamikaze fly flew into my eye, and the following efforts to remove the fly led to me hitting the curb and flying off the bike, landing on a gravel patch. Owwwww. That hurt a lot! I managed to pick the obvious bits of gravel out of the wounds on both my palms, knee, shoulder, ankle and forearm and limped the bike back to the campsite, where the reality kicked in.

Matt made a run into town to collect plasters, antiseptic, bandages and painkillers. I say run, but given the distance to the nearest supermarket/pharmacy, this was a 45 minute round trip on foot.

In the meantime I had a good cry, made a cup of tea and ate a snickers bar, so by the time Matt returned I was ready to be antiseptic wiped and bandaged up.

Cue one exciting night of takeout pizza (Dominos delivered to our motorhome – legends) and me wincing every 2mins and that was the end of the day!


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