We invited the wonderful Matilda Rice & Art Green to have a taster of what you can get up to in our brilliant region for the ultimate Marlborough Wine & Food Festival Weekend. They got a taster of all things Festival and all things Marlborough.
Check out Matilda’s blog on the epic trip below!
Hello lovely readers! Hope you’ve all been keeping well. I haven’t blogged in a while, so looking forward to getting amongst it again.
Art and I have had a busy few weeks, and I thought I would share with you the EPIC weekend we had down in Marlborough. If you’re anything like me, you might not have heard of the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival that happens every year on the second Saturday of Feb … Or maybe you have? Maybe you’ve even bloody BEEN THERE! Well if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. We got asked to come down for a weekend and have a “taster” of everything the event has to offer and what else you can get up to while in Marlborough for the festival. And let me tell you – there’s a lot. I’ll start from the beginning of the trip, and hopefully you feel like you were there with us!
We touched down at Blenheim Airport on Thursday morning and were met by the lovely team from MWFF (shorthand for Marlborough Wine and Food Festival because I’m a lazy typer K), and taken straight to Brancott Cellar Door and Restaurant (just by the location of the festival), and can I just say… That place is dreamy! We had a delicious lunch whilst hearing about wine (and tasting them of course) from Patrick Materman, the head winemaker at Brancott. Marlborough is known for its Sauvignon Blancs, so from someone who hates white wine (so I thought) we tried some amazing wines. Maybe I’ve only ever had shitty whites?!
After lunch we were taken on a joy ride up in a chopper to see the sheer amount of vines the Marlborough region has! It was pretty incredible, and chopper joy rides are on offer on the day of the festival.
After the chopper ride we stopped at another winery – Wither Hills (I’m sure you’re sensing a theme here), to get schooled up on wine and cheese pairing, which is ANOTHER thing you can do at MWFF. Unfortunately, I’m not very adventurous with my cheeses, I’m more of a standard brie fan, nothing too smelly or mouldy – but Art was all over it. The man ate enough cheese for the both of us!
After an hour or so to rest and digest at our hotel, we headed out for dinner for some more consumption. We were luckily enough to be seated at the prep bench in the kitchen at Arbour Dining. These guys do the catering for the VIP area at MWFF. You may remember we had dinner there last time we were down in Marlborough (documented in a previous blog) and it is still one of the best places I’ve eaten, not just because of the food but because of the lovely warm and welcoming nature of the staff. They even checked in with us if we were eating strictly paleo on this trip or not… Just that extra mile ya know?
Friday morning, we were up bright and early for brekky and a bike/wine tour! I was a little sceptical as I’m a terrible biker, but it was so much fun. Before we hit the wineries hard, we had brekky at Vines Village Café – if you’re ever down in Marlborough, I HIGHLY recommend this place! Again the staff were another level of welcoming. Actually now that I think about it, EVERYONE that we met was so friendly. Maybe it’s a Marlborough thing.
The first winery stop was Nautilus, where we met Brett who took us on a tour of the premises and talked us through how they make the different types of wine. We even had it straight from the barrel, and I don’t know why that was so satisfying? The second stop was Framingham Wines, which was really different to any other winery I’ve ever been to! First of all, it feels very “rock n roll” and Jim the winemaker just did not look like your typical wine maker! He was awesome, and didn’t take himself too seriously. We did the wine tasting in the basement surrounded by drum kits and electric guitars where they often have music gigs… Very cool. We then stopped at Wairau River for a lovely lunch with the team there (and of course more wine tasting, at this point I feel I am now a connoisseur), before heading back to our hotel for a power nap before the evenings activities.
We got picked up and taken out to Waikawa Boating Club to take part in the Wine Marlborough Pre-Race Mini Series. What on earth is that you may ask? Well, later this year, the wineries compete against each other in a sailing race (called the Wine Race), but they have a couple of mini races, so we took part in one of those. Our skipper Ash (absolute legend) took the charge and tried to incorporate us somehow in the sailing process, but I think we were possibly more of a hindrance than anything ha! The race course had us heading out in the Sounds, go round an island, and come back. On the way out to the island it was pretty slow going, hardly any wind, very serene (my kind of boating if I’m honest), but as soon as we came back around the island, we could see the wind coming across the water, and it was ALL ON from then! All hands on deck some might say. We were tacking, everyone was working hard, and I was just clinging on for dear life, to be honest, but it was AWESOME. Best experience ever. We ended up coming second too – I think that was down to my skills of keeping up morale. I’ll totally take the credit.
After the most epic, fun-filled couple of days, we got back to the hotel and collapsed in to our pillows before flying home the next morning. We had the best time, and really got a taste of how awesome the MWFF will be. If you do one thing in 2019, head along to that (you can get tickets here).
Until next time Marlborough x