One of the things I was most looking forward to about visiting New Zealand was the wine. We arranged to stay overnight at a small vineyard in Martinborough where we could relax and really enjoy some of New Zealand’s finest. After driving down from Lake Taupo we pulled up alongside Gladstone Vineyard on a sunny afternoon, just in time for a tasting!
The vineyard is a small operation with a cafe, shop, a new winery and office building along with the vines themselves and a small wildlife garden area. The setting is absolutely stunning and incredibly peaceful. We were given a warm welcome by the staff and shown to the small apartment above the shop before making our way downstairs to try the wine.
Gladstone is owned by Scottish couple Christine and David Kernohan (and their Scotty dog, MacLeod) who bought it in 1996. Christine stopped by to chat to us when she found out where we were from while MacLeod went mental with a petanque ball. Firing into the wines I was really happy with the whites on offer. The Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Viogner being the most pleasing ones to my taste. Which was good as a bottle of the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc waited for us back in the apartment. I didn’t enjoy the reds so much, they were nice but I couldn’t imagine myself enjoying a whole bottle like I could with the whites. Perhaps the sunny weather had just put me in the mood for the whites.
Also on offer was a range of special edition wines including a blended reserve called The Auld Alliance (a play on the Scottish connection) and a really lovely dessert wine.
Once we’d worked through the entire range we headed to walk it off through the nearby wetland reserve. This is an area of swampland and serves as a safe haven for a huge range of native wildlife and fauna. Most of which seemed to be hiding from us, though we did see a couple of parakeets flying between the trees. We actually saw more wildlife back at the vineyard where we were followed by a flock of ducks and a large number of chickens.
After a simple dinner we opened the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and spent the evening sitting on the terrace outside the apartment just enjoying the fantastic wine and listening to the various birds in the trees surrounding the winery. I don’t think we had a more relaxing evening during our trip and it was certainly the kind of rest we needed after the run up to the wedding!