Saturday, 9 June 2012


Last weekend, we celebrated Queen Elizabeth's birthday in style. Being that it was to be the last stat long weekend for nearly five months (Labour Day comes next, on October 22), we decided to make the most of it and head out of town. We were invited on a getaway trip to Martinborough by Kevin's coworker Jason and his lovely wife Kellie, an American couple who took essentially the same journey as we did from North America to NZ (no jobs; no contacts; he's an engineer, she's a social worker; ended up in Wellington). Martinborough is a small town in the South Wairarapa, approximately an hour's drive from the city. It is notoriously known as the southern North Island's wine country, with over 25 boutique vineyards, most within walking distance from one another.

We spent all of Saturday and Sunday afternoons making our way through the selection of vineyards, including Schubert Wines, Te Kairanga, Murdoch James, Martinborough Vineyard, Coney Wines, The Cabbage Tree, and others I'm sure. I started to lose count after the first four each day. Hey, it happens! We had planned on renting bicycles to tour around the town on Sunday, but the combination of big wind gusts and big hangovers put that plan to rest fairly quickly. Next time, I suggest bicycles on day one.

The four of us rented a quaint little cottage for the weekend, right off of the town square. It had a large lush backyard (excellent for bocce tournaments), a huge grafted lemon-lime tree, and a feijoa bush. We stocked up on fruit before we left and I have been making citrus dishes all week! It also boasted a beautiful log fireplace, which served us well when indulging on all the wine we purchased throughout the days. And while we all purchased a decent number of bottles, only two made it home for each couple. I wonder where the rest went...

After a long day's vineyard-hopping both Saturday and Sunday, we started the evenings with delicious home-cooked dinners. Clearly, we dipped into the wine prior to cooking...

That's better...

Before heading back on the winetrails on Sunday afternoon, we made an obligatory stop at the gelato/sorbet shoppe for a treat. Happiest boy in town!

Another New Zealand gem is olive oil (who knew!). Many of the vineyards also played host to olive orchards, which is exported all over the world. At the end of our trip, we stumbled upon a small family business called Leafyridge Olives and met owner Craig Leaf-Wright. He seemed quite surprised to see visitors on his acreage, as he was getting ready for harvest and does not have a salesroom. Craig was kind enough to take us through the life of the olive, from tree to press to bottle. He also sold us his incredible olive oil straight from the vat. It doesn't get any fresher than that!

And it wouldn't be an official Heeps of Sheeps blogpost without the obligatory sheeps. These furry little critters are what are known as wine-sheeps. They graze the grass and eat the fallen grapes. The last guy still has his tail!

Until next time... mā te wā!

1 comment:

  1. Yet another great post Samantha. Thanks for keeping us up to date. Would have loved to have joined you on the wine tasting tour!