"Marlborough has so many hidden little diverse corners it’s hard to choose one favourite. From the hidden swimming river holes, to the vineyard views up Brancott Valley, the sweaty satisfaction of climbing The Snout in Picton to the incredible alpine vistas of Rainbow Ski Field. "
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Cellar doors with wine & more
Describe yourself and what you do in 3 words / phrases
I guess you might call me an events manager and ambassador of good times. My brother and I own the evolving beast that is The Vines Village. These days I am everything from a Wine Slinger, Beer Hawker, Micro-Brewery Owner, Music Promotor, Cycling Agitator, Foodie, Restauranteur, and Wine Tourism Developer. I have never been one for titles based on position or qualification which is why I have ‘Goal Kicking Instructor’ on my business card. We have rugby posts out the back at The Vines Village so I try and get out there and slot some goals whenever I can!
Where is your favourite place in Marlborough?
Marlborough has so many hidden little diverse corners it’s hard to choose one favourite. From the hidden swimming river holes, to the vineyard views up Brancott Valley, the sweaty satisfaction of climbing The Snout in Picton to the incredible alpine vistas of Rainbow Ski Field. Hiking to Cape Campbell, snorkelling for Paua in Port Underwood or chilling at White's Bay Beach. My all time favourite is sunset over the vineyards looking towards Mt Riley from the hot tub at the Vines Village Bungalow with a glass of wine in hand, magic!
If you had only 3 days in Marlborough, how would you spend the time?
If I had 3 days, I would first survey the weather (easy, always sunny!) and pick a full day touring the wineries on a hire bike from Explore Marlborough. Try the ‘Ride The Golden Mile’ trail as its open all year round and after 5 wine tastings you can earn a gold medal, a real favourite with young international visitors. Biking the wineries has become one of those NZ must do’s along with Hobbiton and Bungy Jumping in Queenstown. Day 2 would involve a trip to the Marlborough Sounds (either Havelock or Picton) for a short hike, a drive through the winding bush roads to find a hidden picnic spot or maybe lunch at one of the Sounds lodges spotting dolphins along the way. Day 3 is all about food, so start with breakfast at Ritual Cafe (if staying in town) or at the Vines Village Cafe if you are staying amongst the wineries and jump in the ‘Vinewagen’ Wine Tour Kombi (Highlight Wine Tours) or the Hop On Hop Off bus. Mid morning getting a freshly roasted coffee and visiting one of the various deli’s to grab a picnic lunch of cheese and charcuterie. A Burleigh Pork Belly Pie cannot be missed (let’s call it morning tea) and then take your lunch up Mt Vernon or alongside the Wairau River. A visit to Marlborough isn’t complete without lunch at one of the amazing winery restaurants, maybe Highfield for Spanish inspired fare or St Clair’s Vineyard Kitchen or the Vines Village Cafe for casual family-friendly relaxed al fresco dining (try the Taco Tuesday or Sushi Weds specials). Cloudy Bay’s Summer Raw Bar has an incredible atmosphere and perfect for mid afternoon seafood and bubbles stop. Then it’s down to the Grove Town Pub for a beer and japanese style pre-dinner snack and then back to town for tapas at Scotch or for a mind-blowing dinner experience at the multi-award winning Arbour restaurant just outside Renwick.
Although Marlborough is world famous for our wines, we also have some great local breweries. What’s your favourite way to enjoy a Marlborough brewed beer?
Yes the beer scene is slowly growing with Golden Mile Brewing and Sinka Brews joining Moa and Renaissance as small yet interesting newcomers. Some favourite ways to enjoy a beer in Marlborough is to start with an easy drinking sessional ale from Golden Mile Brewing along Rapaura Rd served alongside a tasty beer board lunch or afternoon snack, or a late afternoon IPA on the deck at the Moa Brewery Cellar Door (open til 6pm) or a evening taking in a 'wander along the taps’ at Dodson St Beer Garden.
Beer lovers, be sure to be in Marlborough the first weekend in October for ‘A Festival of Beer’ with craft beer, slow cooked bbq and Bavarian beer drinking music at The Vines Village.
Marlborough has some delicious local cuisine being produced right here, what’s your favourite local bite to eat?
So many favourites but here is a few local specialities and combo’s. Cloudy Bay Popcorn Clams with Preserved Lemon Mayo, Old Road Estate Figs with Honey & Kaikoura Cheese, Flaxbourne Pure Lamb (from Seddon) with Chimmichurri Sauce, Half shell Havelock Mussels poached in Chardonnay then BBQ’d, Ginger & Miso marinated Ora king Marlborough Salmon, Peter The Swiss Butcher’s Charcuturie with Manaaki Kawa Kawa Jelly, Or De Broods half baked bread with Wreckin olive oil and Cranky Goat Cheese and honey.
All washed down with a selection of... Banjo Brews Kombucha – The raspberry, fig leaf and lime on ice with mint and lemon is perfect anytime of day, Golden Mile Brewing Crank Dark Ale – Mocha, Chocolate Notes and known as ‘Marlborough Guinness’, A Marlborough ‘Roots’ Gin full of locally foraged botanicals from Elemental Distillers as the sun sets, Fromm La Strada Pinot Noir – the all time classic Marlborough Pinot Noir with massive hints of dark cherry and wild strawberry notes, Whitehaven 2017 Pinot Rose – Multi-award winning and ‘summer in a glass’, White Wabbit Coconut Truffle Black Tea – Marlborough’s not all about wine, ok! and finally.... Framingham Noble Riesling with Cranky Goat Blue Cheese - I call it a ‘life-changing’ experience! Check out my food ramblings and other nonsense at @fultstagram on Instagram and Marlborough foodie action at here.