The last cruise ship of this summer season, the M/V Seabourn Encore, visited Nelson this week and Day Out was lucky enough to host ten cruisers and show them something of our region.
I looked after five Americans who did not know each other very well at the start of the tour, but after wine tasting at various great wineries, they seemed to become lifetime friends, knowing each other very well. The vocal volume in the Mercedes increased as the tour progressed!
Nelson is New Zealand’s fourth largest wine producing region, producing collectively well over five million bottles annually, the bulk of which is exported around the world and has gained a name for the region’s high quality of aromatic wines. Unlike other large New Zealand wine producing regions, the Nelson region wineries are almost exclusively family owned and operated, meaning the growers and wine masters are all passionate and unrestricted in their efforts to improve and experiment, which means we have some amazing wines, as those American visitors will confirm. And while this region has tended to focus on aromatics such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, we are seeing ever growing quantities of Pinot producing red, white and rose wines, with some vineyards getting good results with Montepulciano, Gewürztraminer, Malbec and other exciting grape varieties.
We are fortunate that while the wine region here is small as regards acreage, it is split into two distinct regions, the Waimea plains down by the sea which are recent alluvial plains largely composed of river gravel and brushed by sea breezes. The Waimea River carved this plain out of the much older clay-rich alluvial ground that forms the Moutere hills, our second wine region, where the vines are sheltered from the sea breezes and enjoy a different micro climate, ensuring great variety within a small area.
Want to taste some truly great and award winning wines and meet the growers? Then you must come on a wine tasting tour in this region! We look forward to sharing our knowledge and experience with you.