September 16, 2017
Beautiful sunny morning. Woke to see 6 BIG multi-colored ducks in the garden. Lindsay came out to chat and asked for us to sign the guest book. Such an affable guy. We traded cards and I suspect swe may see Lindsay and Trish in the states. One of their sons, Chris, is a flight engineer for ANZ which provides them with free flights. They have good friends who live in Seattle and they have traveled to San Diego previously.
Lindsay suggested we go to Raufo for coffee and breakfast. Beautiful location on the Taylor River walkway. No small breakfast here! I had scrambled eggs, salmon and spinach salad with most be boxed for tomorrow. Bob had Croque Madame and salad. We need to learn what coffee to order. One Kiwi said the “long black” was most like what we get in the states. Nothing “long” about it and more like a strong espresso.
Walked along the river for over an hour and then to the library for WiFi. Just as we do at home! Very poor connectivity but did get the journal out sans pictures. Will add pictures when I get some decent connectivity.
Lindsay suggested we go to Peter Yealand’s winery south of Blenheim and on the coast west of Sneddon, Seaview. We didn’t know anything about the winery but WOW!!!!!!. Peter and the winery’s motto is “think boldly, tred lightly”. It is one of the most sustainable wineries we have seen anywhere. Seaview, in the Awatere Valley. is NZ’s most coastal vineyard. They have planted over 2 ½ thousand acres with 80% being sauv blanc. On the drive from Sneddon there were vines for as far as the eye could see. Just amazing! High above Cook’s strait there is cool climate, high sunshine, cool nights and strong winds. Thus the skins are very thick, grapes resistant to disease and rarely ever have frost. In addition to sauv blanc they also grow single vineyard pinot gris, SV Gruner Veltliner, Viognier (which they pulling out in favor of gruner veltliner, SV pinot, SV Tempranillo. Some sustainability measures:
• 1,316 solar panels on the winery roof (enough kwh for 86 houses annually)
• 3 wind turbines
• Vine prunings are baled and then burned in special boilers for water/glycol heating
• Babydoll sheep and Kune Kune pigs for keeping vegetation down
• Chickens foraging for pests
• 25 wetlands that attract animals that prey on destructive birds
• Classical music is solar power pumped into the vineyards and believed to have positive impact in vine health (not tested in the fields but keeps the workers happy!
• 10,000 tons of homemade compost (grape marc, mussel shells, untreated bark, seaweed Etc.) that increases earthworm activity and reducing irrigation requirements
• Seasonal inter-row plantings with wild flowers, grasses and herbs that improve soil structure and encourage beneficial organisms helping combat disease and pests
There is a white road drive through the property highlighting all of aspects of the sustainability efforts. The lookout point is spectacular overlooking the strait. We had a snack lunch and saw a gorgeous rainbow arise out of the water far below in to the sky. Magical! The wines we tasted were very young eg. 2017 sauv blanc. We liked the pinot gris and bought a bottle. What a well worth trip!
We are staying at the Arbour Restaurant Okay 2 stay with 6:30 reservations. It is somewhat modern looking and just won several NZ awards of which they are very proud!
Bob is now trying to shave in the rig. (I think I will have to heat water!)
Went into the restaurant at 6:30 and most of the well-spaced 8-9 tables were filled. (Apparently there is a big rugby match and Liz did not think they would be overcrowded.) Lovely patio but too cool to sit outside. Imagine they could double their capacity in the summer. You could order al la carte or choose a 3/4/5 course meal of the chef’s choosing. Bob ordered the 4 course that included cheese and I had the 3 course with no dessert. This meant we each got two appetizers and a main course. There was no menu.
This is again a designer dinner. The first appetizer was a bowl that had at least 10 different tastes and local ingredients, many of which we could not remember/identify. Walnut oil, smokie carrots, tiny turnip, thinly shaved smoked meat, toasted walnut halves, arugula, spiced pear. We had the 2 appetizers with the 2014 Kumeu River chardonnay. Again in a bowl, the second appetizer was a grilled turbot with greens and various local vegetables. The main course ( again in a bowl) was served on cauliflower puree, tender beef slices, very tiny grilled red potatoes, lovely sauce. With this and Bob’s cheese we had 2015 TeMata Awatea merlot/cab. Both wines from the Hawkes Bay even though we were in Marlborough!! We were about the last to leave. Liz said we should have lunch at the Boat Shed in Nelson. We were not overly filled which was nice!
And so to bed!