You can visit Marlborough’s wineries on a bike, on a tour, in your car or walk. Or, you can do it the Cloudy Bay way, jump in Dave, their 1985 Land Rover Defender and get out amongst the vines. Dave can take four people comfortably (6 at a squeeze), driven by a Cloudy Bay Ambassador, out to see where the grapes grow and learn why Cloudy Bay’s grapes make the wine we all love!
Cloudy Bay grow grapes in the Wairau Valley, one of three areas that make up New Zealand’s largest wine producing region, Marlborough. The first vines were planted by founder David Hohnen when he immigrated from Western Australia in 1985. And they’re members of the Appellation Marlborough, Cloudy Bay Wines are guaranteed 100% Marlborough from the grape to the bottle.
I learnt so many answers to questions I didn’t know I had! Why vines are trained to grow vertically. How the wires are lifted as the vines grow. How the grapes are harvested. Why the vines are planted north-south. And all this while the Richmond Ranges, that grace every Cloudy Bay label, watch over us in the distance. I like to drink wine but what a treat to go behind the scenes, meet these passionate winemakers and learn the how and why for producing these world class wines.
Tucked away on the vineyard is The Shack, a very special, very private place. Here you can have tailor made private tastings or maybe an epicurean experience; lunch hosted by a Cloudy Bay Ambassador, prepared by a Cloudy Bay preferred Chef and matched with Cloudy Bay wines.
Usually not available for private bookings (there are four double bedrooms), the arrival of Covid meant no international events so Cloudy Bay made The Shack available for private bookings – these were snapped up but can be waitlisted (get in touch!).
Of course a visit to Cloudy Bay isn’t complete without a tasting. I’d read about the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, harvested during New Zealand’s lock down. Close your eyes and this is what Marlborough tastes like, freshy and fruity. Then, fermented in oak casks, Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc, maybe this is mature Marlborough, smooth and creamy. Heaven in a glass.
I had to leave to catch a plane (true story). If you’re limited for time, a cellar door visit is a must. If you have more time, spend the day, go out into the vines with Dave, have lunch, relax, taste more wine.