Blenheim is the main centre of the Marlborough region and is host to the well known wine trail and vineyard guided tours. Due to its location it has become a haven for vineyards growing the grape Sauvignon Blanc.
The first vineyard we hit when driving North from Kaikoura, about 20km before hitting the infamous wine region of Blenheim, a hidden vineyard of Yealands can be found (it is actually on their “wine trail” but being a bit far most people skip this vineyard). From the main road this vineyard isn’t noticeable, but once over the hill it covers what seems like endless hectares of ground.
Yealands grows many award winning grapes which are shipped all over the world. In the UK it apparently can be found in M&S or part of the Tesco Finest range. Not only are the staff welcoming and allowing you to sample a few bottles of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, but the chance to enjoy the 360o view of the area at their lookout point.
On one side you can see Mount Tapuae-o, which is the highest peak in the northeast of South Island, then staring into the Cook Strait you can see North Island in the far distance and Cape Campbell light house.
After spending a night near Blenheim, we hit our second, slightly smaller vineyard of the region nearer the centre called Wairau river vineyard. Greeted by one of friendly employers offering us a free sample of two, we started tasting. From the first glass being Sauvignon Blanc, then a Riesling, Chardonnay and the rather pricy Pinot Noir to finish. Some weren’t slightly to our taste but still left with 2 bottles ready for the travels!