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Day 9, Marlborough Wine Country

Kei te pēhea koe? How are you travelers? Do you need a day off yet? This might be a place and time to enjoy rest and rejuvenation. There are kayaks to rent, scooters, bikes, cars if you can manage driving on the WRONG side of the road, and hikes all nearby.

If not let's hit the road and spend the day at MARISCO

Brent Marris is the owner and winemaker of Marisco which houses 4 different brands -The Ned, Leefield Station, The Kings, and The Craft Series, each with 6 or more different wines under each brand. The wines are all amazing, because Brent is amazing. You may have heard of Oyster Bay Winery, their wines are imported to the U.S. and can be found everywhere - Brent started the Oyster Bay brand and sold it long ago to start Marisco.

This beautiful estate is housed on a 268 hectare (about 135 acres) property on the banks of the Waihopai River. The property and land have a variety of businesses besides vineyards and winemaking. Marisco has sheep, hogs and cattle, and they sheer the sheep right on the farm. The elegant beauty of this land is enhanced by the natural farming practices, organized vineyards and creative properties built for farming and winemaking.

We are thoroughly enchanted by this land, the slopes are gentle, the farm is fascinating and the wines are delicious. Our tour here was almost the entire day long, tasting the wines and enjoying lunch alongside the river at the portable tasting room which is moveable and completely open with garage doors on the river side. Everything that we tasted was magnificent, Brent was so gracious to open so much wine for us, and Siobhan the General Manager along with Anton Vineyard Manager were there to fill in any information or answer any questions. Along with touring the vines, we even got to visit the sheering shack where we touched and smelled the wool. Dawn was the first to notice the earthy but waxy aromas that were in there. I think that I saw her slip some into her pocket. She talked about making a sweater later...

We had steelhead for lunch that came directly from the Wairau River. The fish was grilled with an array of grilled vegetables, and we all paired tastes of all the wines, a perfect accompaniment and a fantastic way to enjoy lunch. We sat outside alongside the tributary to the Wairau as we soaked up the sun and sweet setting.

Each day of this tour we drive back to the hotel and each traveler talks about how THIS day was definitely the best one of all. So far, we decided that each day builds on the next, as we not only learn about the wines of New Zealand, but gain respect, knowledge and understanding of the people, their lifestyle and culture and how the Maori have been incorporated in a very inclusive way. They are one people, one land - two islands, but with one heart.

It's not hard to imagine this land, it's clean, freshly settled with native populations that are included and honored, and you can feel the respect that each of them have for their beautiful country. We are enamored and filled with gratitude as we drive back to our hotel, find some nibbles for dinner and stare at the midnight blue of the sky that is swarming with stars.

The Phoenix Astronomical Society Observatory is located nearby in the stunning Black Birch Mountains near Blenheim, a testament to the clear skies here in New Zealand.

Let's sleep like angels tonight my travelers and dream of far away planets while we are drinking Sparkling Wine!

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