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February 3, 2010

Don’t Go Wine Tasting On An Empty Stomach

After our memorable Cook Strait crossing, we didn’t have much time to have lunch. We grabbed a Subway sandwich each and ate them on the way to our first stop on the wine tour.

There were thirteen of us, and we managed to cover a lot of the world with passengers from New Zealand, Australia, England, Norway and the USA. On the South Island side of the strait it was fine and sunny, so my brother-in-law got the weather right. The Marlborough region sees a lot of sunshine—usually grabbing the highest amount each year—so it’s excellent for growing grapes.

Our first stop was at Drylands, one of the larger vineyards with ties to Australia and the USA. We started with a welcome glass of sparkling wine and gradually worked our way through the list. I like wine, so I sampled most of them—both red and white. Most enjoyable.

The second stop was at Framingham. After another eight or so samples here, and I started to feel the wine. This tour was unlike the samplings I’d done before. Obviously it pays to go on a tour rather than turn up with just hubby. The people behind the counter were most generous with their samples, and we purchased a bottle of Framingham Marlborough Classic Riesling here. For those of you who enjoy wine this is a classic New Zealand, off-dry style wine with rich fruit and a juicy acidity. It has complex varietal characters of lemon citrus, mandarin and stone fruit with a long mineral finish. It’s best served with Asian style cuisine and seafood. Sounds good, right? I intend to have some tonight with my dinner.


Our next stop was Nautilus Estate where Mr. Munro and I purchased a carton of wine. Nautilus is shipping it home for us. Our quiet bus was growing progressively noisier, and there was much more chatter and laughter by this stage. I was pacing myself, skipping the odd tasting, and I made inroads on their oil/bread samples.

Our final stop was Hunter’s. Hunters is an older vineyard and one of the first in New Zealand to take their wines overseas and scoop gold medals at the wine shows. Mr. Hunter died tragically early in a car accident (age 38) and his wife took over the running of the vineyard. Her name is Jane Hunter and she has received many wine awards, including the inaugural award for women winemakers, world wide. She also has an OBE.

I loved the Hunter wines. In fact there was only one I disliked. Yep, I admit it—I was decidedly tiddly when I left, but I wasn’t alone. We drove to our last stop, the Makana Chocolate Boutique, with the music blaring really loud Beetles and Queen classic hits.


So, I leave you with a tip—if you intend to hit a wine trail, it’s a good idea to have a hearty meal first. Your head will thank you for it!

Have you been wine tasting before? Do you like wine, and if so, which one is your favorite?


  1. Jaime

    Sounds like you’re having a blast! Love the pictures.

  2. Christina Phillips

    We went on a wine tour last summer in the Margaret River region of WA. I loved it! Hoping to go again in a couple of months. My wine of choice is Chardonnay!

  3. Kaily Hart

    Sounds like so much fun! I could have used that advice on a trip to Scotland and the distilleries!! I don’t even like Scotch!

  4. Debra Kayn

    What fun! I loved how you described the tour ending on a jovial note. lol

    My curiousity was piqued at the idea of the widow continuing on with the wine business after losing her husband. This would make a wonderful story. Very strong woman, I bet.

  5. Shelley Munro

    Jaime – it was heaps of fun, and I’d love to do it again one day.

    Christina – I used to drink a lot of chardonnay. These days I’m drinking more sav and pinot gris.

  6. Shelley Munro

    Kaily – LOL – I’ve been through a distillerary in Scotland. I don’t like whiskey that much either.

    Debra – I thought Jane Hunter was very inspirational. You should be able to find stuff about her on the web since she’s won so many wine awards around the world.

  7. Barbara Ryan

    It looks like you had a Blast. I have done several wine tours in upsate New York. They were fun, as I love to try new wines. I think the next time I will take the bus tour, so as to relax. I enjoy many kinds of wine, however I would say red is my preference, especially Zinfidels.

  8. Shelley Munro

    Barbara – a bus tour is definitely the way to go. You don’t need to worry about driving and you can sit back to enjoy the scenery and company.

    I’ve enjoyed Zinfidels when I’ve been in the US. It’s not a variety we have in New Zealand. I know we have a lot of varieties here that aren’t for sale in the US – either that or we call them by different names.

  9. Helen Hardt

    I’ve been to several wine tastings. My favorites are lusty reds like Old Vine Zins, Syrahs, Petite Sirahs. Rhone blends are great, too.

  10. Mary Preston

    I adore wine tasting trips. I don’t have preferences. If it comes from grape I’m generally there. The car always seem to be fully loaded for the trip home. Gifts for friends – of course.

  11. Kaye Manro

    Sounds like you are having so much fun. Love that you keep all updated with the photos. I don’t drink wine because it seems to give me a headache!

  12. Barbara Ryan


    New Zealand, has some of the best wines. I hope someday to take a tour and discover and taste some of the wonderful wines that I have never been able to enjoy here. I should get planning. I got thirsty just reading your desciption of the, Framingham Marlborough Classic Riesling. Enjoy.

  13. Cari Quinn

    Love the photos! I’m not much of a wine drinker, but one day I’d like to go to a tasting to experiment. :grin:

  14. Shelley Munro

    Helen – I’m quite happy to drink red as well. :grin: But I do prefer white during the summer.

    Barbara – it was very drinkable. Yes, New Zealand has some wonderful wine. Our winegrowers do well at the wine shows each year.

  15. Shelley Munro

    Mary – I’m looking forward to the courier delivery. We’re keeping it all for ourselves. :mrgreen:

    Kaye – that’s very unfortunate!

  16. Shelley Munro

    Cari – it’s definitely a fun way to spend an afternoon.

    Nessa – I couldn’t agree more!

  17. Andrea I

    That was a beautiful picture of wine country.
    I know about wine on an empty stomach from having a glass at home. I have to stick to white wine as red triggers my migraines. I previously enjoyed merlot, but now stick mostly to chardonnay. My only wine tasting was at a winery in St. Augustine.

  18. Shelley Munro

    Andrea – definitely! I’ve been on a bit of a cut back when it comes to food recently so I’ve been stearing clear of wine. Wine seems to trigger migraines with a lot of people.

  19. Alice Audrey

    I love that picture of Nautilus.

  20. Linda Henderson

    I’ve only tasted wine a couple of times, so I don’t really know if I like it or not. Due to the medications I take I can’t really drink alcohol. It sounds like you had a great time though.