I had the absolute privilege of heading out on an afternoon trip to experience NZ Wine Tours latest ‘Degustation Tour’. It was a cold, snowy, pretty miserable day in Queenstown (I know, it’s rare) but what a perfect opportunity to sit and sip, taste, learn and crave crave crave more wine when I got home.
Picked up from my abode (so no trawling into town, leaving cars, working out how to get said car) by the gorgeous Liz, we proceeded to pick up the other 4 guests and then head out into wine country. A small group makes for lovely intimate chatter about wine and the area. Liz asked us all about the wine’s we like (I replied “all”) and where we had been before in the region and then shaped the time around this. We headed out to Chard Farm first stop. Into the wine cellar we were then thrown head first into a array of food and wine matchings. I was NOT complaining. The perfect thing about this was we had wines and food that matched perfectly but then Liz showed us when wine and food don’t match. I totally got it! So even if you’re a wine dummy (and I’m not sure if there is such a word anymore) you can taste the distinct difference between a “yes!” wine moment and a suck your teeth behind your gums moment. Genius.
Heading out into Central deeper we then visited Wild Earth for lunch. Can I say if you, like me, have said “ooh I should go there” a million times as you speed past on your way to Cromwell then yes you should go there. You should not speed past you should actually stop and pull into the car park, get out, order the amazing lunch and get amongst the wine. It was freezing cold day but it was perfect for wining and dining. I can also imagine you frolicking along the trails with the sun beating down. We were met with a large wooden contraption that holds 10 little wine glasses. A Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay (yes people it’s back!) and two Pinot Noir all matched with delicious pork belly, salmon and quinoa, hot fresh bread, chicken.
Out of the gorge and into Bannockburn you could be forgiven for missing Akarua Winery. Set against the dusty backdrop of Central a total gem of a place. Wine glasses awaiting our arrival and first up a Methode Traditionelle Brut. I obviously bought a bottle as I’m partial to fizz. And my first time trying ice wine, where frozen grapes are pressed to produce very sweet delicious young wine.
Brennen Winery is one of my favourites and I’m so glad we revisited this as the last stop of the day as it’s teeny, warm, cozy and their Pinot Noir is to die for. They say never get a gal slightly tipsy in a winery with her purse handy….actually that was me saying that in the morning as I headed out with the group, but it’s true as you just can’t say no to the gods of wine at the end of the day. Leaving the winery with a few purchases just happens. And you’ll be a happy camper when you get home with all that lovely wine
under your bed in your cellar.
There were so many little touches that I loved about NZ Wine Tours. Water,chocolate and fruit in the vans all along the way. Wifi to keep you dear readers updated. Knowledgeable staff who KNEW. THEIR. STUFF. Who knew we were at 45° south of the equator, probably the Southern most region for growing wine and wine is tastiest out of the appropriate glass. I didn’t believe this until I tried it. Wine and flavour is so remarkable. The degustation is such an insightful and non-pompous way of understanding how the right wine and the right food works and makes everyone go ‘oh yes!’ which, in a group, is such a lovely way of experiencing wine. This is why they do it so well. Well done you lot!
You can book so many different tours according to taste and time right here
I was invited to spend the afternoon with NZ Wine Tours and if I didn’t like them I wouldn’t tell you to go.