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Posted: Saturday, June 28 2008. 11:40

Kiwiland Best Wine Tourism Destination

It's a long way to go for a drink, but New Zealand's vineyards are well worth the effort, says wine expert, author and chairman of India Wine Challenge, Robert Joseph who claims that no wine-producing country does a better job of welcoming tourists. 

Writing for Telegraph, he has conditional praise for French wineries who welcome you only if you make an appointment, speak fluent French and are carrying a checkbook to place the order. California's wineries love the tourists but the slickly organised, paid tours are more about fun than vines or wines.

The Kiwis have chosen an ideal middle ground knowing they are the late arrivals in the New World. They invariably offer tasting rooms, cafés, restaurants or picnic areas and quite possibly a hotel or a cottage in which to relax after a hard day of tasting.

' My favourite areas to visit are the wide-open valley of Marlborough , with its backdrop of the green, folded-blanket hills that feature on the Cloudy Bay label, and the nearby Marlborough Sounds , one of the world's best places to fish or mess around on a boat. The Montana Brancott winery offers first-class tastings and tours and some very good food, while the nearby Herzog winery has a Relais & Châteaux hotel and restaurant that is well worth its premium prices for the New Zealand standards,' writes Robert.

' Hawke's Bay, on the North Island, is home to New Zealand's best Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots, as well as the Craggy Range winery (represented by Brindco), whose restaurant terrace offers the chance to enjoy top-class cooking while watching the sun set behind the vineyards.'

' On the South Island are country's cult Pinot Noir vineyards and a brilliant set-up called the Big Picture in Cromwell, where, for NZ$20 (£8), you can sit back and watch a film that flies you across the region in a helicopter, dropping into five wineries, including the actor Sam Neill 's Two Paddocks. As the winemaker talks about his wines on screen, you get to sample them and compare notes.'

Maybe one day the winemakers of Nashik will come up with an idea this good. Robert will be in India in November to conduct the second India Wine Challenge at Hotel Hyatt Regency and delwine could perhaps convince him to share his ideas and vision of eno-tourism with the wine producers when he and all the international judges meet in Mumbai and make a trip to Nashik.

Robert also recommends his best buys which are listed below. They are not necessarily inexpensive but do give you an insight into some premium wines. If you find excessive number of wines in Central Otago, it is because the region shines brilliantly for its outstanding Pinot Noirs that compete with Burgundy and Oregon.

More details can be found in Telegraph:

Auckland:

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2006  

Gisborne:

Vinoptima Ormond Gewurztraminer 2006  

Hawke's Bay:

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Viognier 2005

 

Clearview Enigma 2006

 

Te Mata Estate Coleraine 2005  

 

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels "Le Sol" Syrah 2005

Wellington:

Palliser Estate Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006

 

Dry River Martinborough Syrah  2004

Marlborough:

Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2006

 

Montana Festival Block Sauvignon Blanc 2007

 

Montana Terraces Pinot Noir 2006

 

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Central Otago

Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2006

 

Prophet's Rock, Pinot Gris 2007

 

Olssens Jackson Barry Pinot Noir 2005

 

Tarras Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006

 

Wooing Tree Pinot Noir 2006

 

Prophet's Rock Pinot Noir 2006

 

Pisa Range Pinot Noir 2006

 

Aurora Syrah 2006


The details can also be found in Robert Joseph's Wine Travel Guide to the World which  is published by Footprint and is available in UK for  £20 - editor

       

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