Sunshine, cycling and wine as far as the eye can see. Sound like paradise? Well it certainly did to us as we grabbed a wine map, teased our rather squashed, rented tandem bike from the back of the campervan and wobbled off into Blenheim’s wine country.
Regimented rows of the precious grapes cover thousands of acres of the undulating countryside here and there are over 140 wineries in the region, with more than 60 of them offering free wine tasting to visitors – on the expectation that you’ll fall so utterly in love with the region’s brand of zingy, citrus sauvignon blancs and clean, ripe pinot noirs that you’ll end up leaving with a pannier full of bottles.
We meandered to Saint Clair Family Estate cellar off the cycle-friendly Rapaura Road before making our way – ever more carefully and ever less upright to Framingham Wines via the cellar doors of Cloudy Bay, MOA beers, Prenzel liqueurs, Bouldevines, Hans Herzog and the Fudge Kitchen, for an emergency sugar hit, obviously. By the day’s end, with panniers bulging and me doing probably less than 30% of the peddling, I can say shaky hand on tipsy heart that this the most fun you can have outside of a bungee harness in New Zealand.