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A New Zealand Must Do: Wine Country Down Under, Marlborough, New Zealand


Marlborough is located on the Eastern side of New Zealand’s South Island. Acres of grape vines punctuate the rolling green hills and valleys rich in mineral deposits while fluffy white sheep dot the landscape like landlocked clouds. I was lucky enough to spend fives weeks in Marlborough and visit some of the countries most beautiful wineries.


Yealand’s oceanfront vineyard

Let me first preface that I take my wine seriously, not like some pompous snob, but with a sincere and genuine affection.

I was fortunate enough to live in Virginia wine country for six years, and visiting wineries is one of my favorite hobbies. I was familiar with New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs before I left on my trip and I was very keen to learn more.

The climate and soil of NZ’s Pacific hugging East Coast is unique among the island and turns out lovely wines. In fact more than 77% of all NZ wines are from this region, and the entire area is packed with vineyards.  My palette was in heaven; with each tasting I savored Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Gris (same as Pinot Grigio just a different pronunciation) and lovely light bodied Pinot Noirs. I enjoyed the Pinot Gris’s the best. I have not tasted anything comparable.

Deliciously refreshing, you’ll experience a variety of floral notes such as honey, strawberry, melon, interwoven with tastes of  fresh wood, and light minerals that typify the wines in this region.

For any wine lover, visiting Marlborough is a must see. Below are a few notable Vineyards visited on this trip:

Yealands Estate

Yealands was particularly interesting because it is the most environmentally conscious winery in New Zealand. 100% organic and as devoted to good wine as they are sustainability. The estate motto is: “Taste Boldly, Tread lightly and Never Say it can’t be done.” After having a tasting I bought a 2013 Pinot Gris and drove up to the outlook over the ocean. Friendly chickens (the local pest control agents) gently clucked around me and it was an utterly enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.

The Yealand Estate

Hunters Wines

Their award winning: Pinot Gris and award-winning Gewurztraminer are not to be missed! Their property is smaller, but their cheese platter and lawn with comfy extra large pillows is a very relaxing way to enjoy your wine.

Saint Clair Family Estate

Out of the vineyards I visited this had the best restaurant – they even offered paired cheese/wine tasting (a combo that is as classic and Brad and Angie!). Try their reserve range Pinot Noir, it will remind you a Pinot Noir from Washington or Oregon, but better.


-Until my next adventure- Jo

Travel and Inspirational Blogs

On Loneliness

My trip to the Southern Hemisphere has turned from two months to almost six. I am now half way through it and the last couple of weeks I have been starting to feel restless and antsy and I couldn’t figure out why. I felt guilty for feeling like I was totally adrift, in life and in New Zealand. I started to feel lonely; a castaway of her own making. I hated to admit that to myself. The holidays are coming up and I am about as far away from my friends and family as I could get. The idea of being alone so frightening that I begin to question my entire journey altogether.

To be okay with being alone, to be okay with accepting strangers hospitality has been a struggle for me. Then I am reminded of the Goby fish. The Goby slowly climbs waterfalls, against the raging torrents of water, to climb uphill, literally, against the flow, against immeasurable odds to find still water ponds in which to spawn. Struggle is something I have fought so hard against my entire life. Indeed I think our culture is cursed with wanting to choose “the easy way out” – have we forgotten the journey that nature has made for us in dealing and working through struggle? Much how you make muscle mass by tearing down the muscles and rebuilding them via protein I am finding that only through the break down, of physical, emotional, and mental tissue can I be rebuilt. The lesson seems so easy, but in reality it is hard. It has taken me almost 30 years to allow myself to be utterly torn down to be rebuilt again, rebuilt into a creature of my own authentic creation. There are many means in which people allow themselves to be torn down and rebuilt, mine is via travel.

A week ago I decided to park my car and my soul in Christchurch. I had no plans, no place to stay and I didn’t know a soul. I decided to push my boundaries even further and try couchsurfing. I am someone who likes (to put it mildly) to be in control. I despise depending on people. I am much more comfortable with being the one to give, not so much with receiving. With couchsurfing you are reliant 100% on a strangers compassion and hospitality. They give you a space in their house to sleep, cook you dinner and if you are lucky show you around their town. I was feeling lonely, and damn it I was determined to do something about it. So, to push myself out of my comfort zone and try to meet some new people I decided to sign up for a couchsurfing account.

I am happy to report that it has been a great success. I have been humbled by the sheer generosity of people. I have allowed myself to be blessed. Even if people couldn’t host me in their homes, they’ve met up with me to show me around Christchurch. This type of discovery is more rewarding than reading any guidebook. In a short amount of time, I’ve made friends, have a place to stay as long as I want, and Thanksgiving plans with fellow Americans abroad.

It is easy to get mired in the negativity of this world. The sadness and horror often cast a shadow on the light; the light of true human decency and compassion. I have discovered that we are only as lonely as we allow ourselves to be. My goal with this trip was to discover my limitations, could I handle being alone in my own skin? Could I open my heart enough not only to bless other people, but also to allow them to bless me in return? That answer is yes to both questions. I can find happiness in being alone and I am brave enough to know when I need companionship and to seek it out. I am richly rewarded in experiencing both solitude and solidarity.

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt