Biking in Wine Country

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Sometimes you win. Sometimes you don’t. And sometimes it all comes out better than you thought.  So it was today.  We signed up for a full day biking tour of wine country here in Blenheim, which is truly about all there is here!!  We expected 5-6 wineries with a lunch stop.

First stop. . .Framingham where we tasted their wines with their dry Riesling being our favorite.  The highlight was a blind tasting in black glasses.  It’s amazing how much the visual plays a part in taste.  Don and I each got 50% correct.  Great fun!

We hopped back on our bikes to reach our next small boutique vineyard, Bladen.  Fun little place with some nice juice!

Biking onward we reached Wairau River, our lunch stop.  Here’s where the problem began.  The place was mobbed, this being a beautiful summer day.  We waited nearly 2 hours for lunch to be served, and actually never got around to tasting their wines, although I had a glass of rose with my delicious salmon salad lunch.

We knew we were time-pressed because the other couple on our tour were from a cruise and had to leave Blenheim at 3:30.  It was now 3:00 so we only had time for one more stop, which was called No. 1, a bubbly wine stop which didn’t impress either of us.

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Our guide Lucy was a native to the area and regaled us with many stories about vines, vineyards, terroir, and wine making in the region. She really knew her stuff!img_0518

But honestly, we were expecting to visit a few more wineries as advertised but by 3:30 we, too, were back on a van headed to our motel.  Sigh.  We were both disappointed.  We wanted more biking.

So here we were, 4 p.m., which is the time all the cellar doors close, and we’ve learned there isn’t much to do in Blenheim in the evening.  Or so we thought.

Don’s keen eye spotted the one and only place that seemed to be open in the evening, and it was one of the top 10 vineyards in New Zealand, which I had actually discovered at home but discounted because I mistakenly thought they were only open for dinner from Wednesday-Sunday. Not so.  Our hostess here at the motel phoned, and we got on their list for their 6:30 pm tour and tasting.

To our amazement and delight Therese Herzog, wife of the owner Hans Herzog of the vineyard of the same name was our guide.

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What a totally delightful woman.  She told us the story of how she and Hans came to have this amazing spot in NZ, having come from Switzerland and families with a 500 year history of wine making.  They have built an amazing organic vineyard that produces only 2500 cases per year.  The three wines we tasted were unlike anything we’ve experienced before, and I got the feeling that we were tasting the authentic grape.

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Their Rhodesian razorback is featured in a book of Wine Dogs which we’ve seen everywhere .

And even though we still felt full from our very late lunch, we couldn’t help but stay and enjoy a small bite in their outdoor bistro.

So I guess the moral is:  Take Life and experiences as they happen, live in the moment, and let things take their course.   Our disappointment in what we considered a shortened wine experience allowed us to come home, regroup, take a short nap, and enjoy a truly memorable and unforgettable evening.  And at Herzog we spied this wonderful chalkboard saying:

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