The area of Marlborough to the North of New Zealand’s South Island is home to many a vineyard. Indeed, there are far more vineyards scattered across the country than you may expect. It is a big business for NZ.
These vineyards range from the delightfully small and boutique where you can easily meet the owner while having a taste session up to the huge business concerns. It was at one of these, Yealands Winery, near the town of Seddon, that I did a self-drive tour (yes, you read that correctly) before going to the obligatory tasting area and shop.
The business prides itself on being carbon zero (or carboNZero to localise it!) and uses old vines as fuel (and has big piles of fertiliser which are made on-site), has free-range chickens eliminating bugs and babydoll sheep (which cannot reach the vines) mowing the grass. This is a BIG vineyard though and I couldn’t help but feel that maybe somewhere the idylls fell a little flat when you saw the rather sizeable modern factory – but fair play on what they aim for and what they are apparently achieving.
Finally, here is a fun fact…they actually play classical music to their grapes as they believe it increases the vigour of the vines and their resistance to disease. Heaven knows.