Day 6 Hawkes Bay to Martinborough

Kua rite koe?

Pack those bags and let's hit the road..!

We are headed to Martinborough, another great wine region in this beautiful territory in the south end of the North Island. We will head further south towards the the deepest southeast quadrant of the North Island. This is known as the “Land of Glistening Waters” or the Wairarapa in Maori. This is also the land that is famous for the food and wine of the area.


Today is Sunday, May 3rd and we visit one winery only but it's worth 10 wineries combined. This is a fantastic day as we enjoy the afternoon to ourselves at this estate. Ata Rangi is an amazing choice, we're lucky to slip in a visit here https://atarangi.co.nz/visit-us/

The valley of Wairarapa and Martinborough in particular is rain shadowed by the mountains on three sides. During ripening of the grapes the days are sunny and warm, but nights cool down dramatically with crisp and sharp breezes from the southern ocean.  This diurnal effect contributes dramatically to the the quality of the fruit, not only by preserving intensity of aromas but by allowing the long, slow and steady ripening throughout their extended autumns. We climb a short hill that hosts their stony river terrace where most of the vines are planted. The stones are quartz-threaded greywacke and there is some volcanic basalts. This is known to be the windiest and driest climate in the North Island.

We are so enamored with this estate that it's difficult to leave the vines - even if it's to taste the wines, the land is glorious and fertile, but not where the vines lie, there is so little soil due to the quartz and basalt. We gather ourselves together and chatter as we wander off to taste in their quaint facility.

Martinborough is a tiny rural village nestled at the bottom of the Remutaka Mountain range, about one hour’s drive from Wellington and across from a spectacular view of these mountains. 


What another great day, the Pinot Noir is amazing, and even those who are in love with big reds (DENISE BENDER!) are convinced of the delicious-ness of Pinot Noir and it's enhancing abilities with food. Even Bender is now a fan of Pinot Noir, and maybe even the biggest fan thus far.

It's a sunny and warm afternoon, but soon turns chilly as the sunshine hides behind the clouds coming in from the sea, we slip inside their charming tasting room (or cellar door as they refer to it) for our exciting tasting.

Our day was filled with vineyards and wine, winemakers and science, and friendship of course. We enjoyed lunch in Martinborough, the sweet tiny village loaded with Colonial charm, and we discovered excellent cafes and restaurants, where the local produce was featured. Many wineries have vineyard cafes where you can make the most of the autumn weather and relax outside. Several decide to visit the Martinborough Wine Centre, where you can taste many wines from the region. Wines can also be purchased here, and shipped back home, which is a plus for these travelers.

We end the day on our own, enjoying the sea, the vines, the fresh air and now the stars show up, it's the most clear and bright skies that just about all of us have ever experienced. Another great night under the stars and a relaxing and restful Sunday together. We bid each other good night, taking our wine cups to bed, nibbling our chocolates purchased in town, and promise to never forget this day.

Good night sweet travelers, we are all so gratified and sleepy.

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Regina Daigneault 

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