Day 1 – Arrived in Christchurch to an overcast day. The temp is cool around 20 degrees. We were feeling pretty tired and jet lagged after a long trip. We stayed one night at a hotel in Downtown Christchurch to adjust to the time and catch up on sleep. We arrived to our hotel after Dark so we are excited to see the sights in the morning in the daylight.
Day 2 – Jasper was up early with the sun (as usual) so we all got up grabbed a nice relaxing breaky and hit the road on our way to Marlborough. The drive from Christchurch to Marlborough is very spectacular along the coastline. We stopped along the beach to see the seals…and lots of them! They were just snoozing on the rocks along the beach. The beach is so different from what we are used to in Australia – the sand is black from the volcanic rock. The Coastline is very rugged and unspoilt.
New Zealand means “land of the long white cloud” and from what I have seen so far is it well named – when we flew into the South Island all you can see is big fluffy clouds and since arriving we haven’t seen the sun…just more big fluffy clouds.
We arrived in Marlborough around dinnertime after a leisurely drive. Our accommodation is at a beautiful little cottage on a vineyard called Walnut Block. We were extremely lucky to find accommodation as we arrived in town during the busiest week in Marlborough – or so we were told. We couldn’t understand why everywhere was completely booked out; even the hole in the wall motels didn’t have vacancy. I started to panic, our flights were booked and I wasn’t able to find any decent hotel anywhere in the vicinity with availability. I called Walnut Block fully expecting them to be booked as well as their cottages looked incredibly stylish. We lucked out, Clyde one of the owners told me that they had just had a cancellation for the exact duration that we were requesting….WHEW!
As well as being one of the prettiest vineyards in New Zealand they also make 4 wines – A high end Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc as well as an entry level of both. We were crossing our fingers that the wines would be brilliant as they are not represented in Canada…which is becoming more and more difficult to find as Marlborough becomes more famous. We cracked open the wines to sample and they were in fact absolutely brilliant! We were very excited how easy that was; hopefully we have the same luck for the rest of the trip. We have arranged a time to meet with Clyde to find out if they have quantities available to purchase, as they are so small they don’t even have a cellar door.
Day 3 – We decided to start off the day doing some research and get familiarized with the region. As we had to push our New Zealand trip forward a couple of weeks to ensure the wines arrive in Canada on schedule we are not quite as organized as we were for the Australia buying trip. We have been here for 3 days and still no sun…I am hoping for a couple days of sunshine and blue skies, otherwise taking photos will be a challenge!
We met with Clyde from Walnut Block to discuss the two premium wines that we are interested in purchasing. The entry level wines were great; however we are looking for something fantastic, which their top wines were. The name walnut block comes from a really old big walnut tree smack dab in the middle of the vineyard, which is apparently the oldest in the region. This was Jasper’s favorite part of our accommodation – climbing the tree and throwing walnuts at Marcus and me when we weren’t looking. Oh and also the vineyard dog Henny who came and greeted us every morning looking for Jasper to throw a stick to her. Clyde told us he was going to check and see if they had the quantities that we are looking for and get back to us.