I was really looking forward to catching the ferry from Wellington to Picton. The boat pulls out of Wellington and crosses the Cook Strait before winding a course through the Queen Charlotte Sounds. And they are stunning! I’d already planned a few shots in the area, checked out the surrounding area using Google Earth and was really excited. Then we found out that our early-morning ferry was cancelled due to high wind and huge seas. We were automatically booked on a ferry the following day and would have to miss our winery tour through Marlborough. Fortunately, we managed to call around and snagged a spot for our huge van on the late night ferry – the compromise was that we would arrive in Picton around midnight; there would be no photos of the gorgeous Queen Charlotte Sounds. It also meant that we shared the ferry with about a dozen patched Rebels. Like I said, compromise.
We rolled off the ferry close to 1am and found a quiet street to settled in for the night. It was freezing. Without a power outlet to run our little heater we relied on every blanket we could find, sleeping in thermals and body warmth. But when we woke, we were treated to some magic light, a gorgeous drive to Blenheim and a full day of delicious NZ wines! And check out that camp-ground!
I had a quick look online for a winery tour group to join and had stumbled across Bubbly Grape Wine Tours. The lovely Kerry from Bubbly Grape picked us up from our humble campground and we were surprised to see that Alyce and I were the only ones on the tour for the day! We essentially got to choose all of the wineries we went to and had a private chauffeur for the day. We looked in some of my favourite vineyards. Though there wasn’t a grape on a vine, it was still awesome to check out how big the industry is in Marlborough and taste some amazing wines. Thanks to Villa Maria, Cloudy Bay, Brancott and Giesen for hosting us! Cloudy Bay were so accommodating that we actually got to try the Unlabelled 2015 Sauvy; well, the winemaker was entertaining a company exec and he opened it for them, but we still got to try it! Massive thanks to Kerry for driving us around, teaching us about wines and snapping heaps of photos of us! Oh, and how’s this for unique – Kerry found out pretty early on that we are doctors and decided to take us to a winery called Forest Estate to try their line of wines called “The Doctors”. What a day.