This Nelson-Region Travel Food & Wine Guide will help you find those special boutique wineries – the favourites where all the locals hang out. I’d recommend that you stay at least 3 days in the Nelson-Tasman Region. Because when it comes to food and wine, there’s only so much you can fit it- but there is a smart way to do it. Within the Tasman region there are a number of distinctively different wine areas and these are the ones we’re going to focus on – plus a great yearly festival:
If you are lucky enough to be in the Tasman area around in the first week of February, check this out. There’s no better chance to mix with the locals than at the Sarau Festival. The festival is held in the very area that was settled by Germans who decided to put their roots down in the Upper Moutere Hills. Its pretty much an all-day affair. In fact, it actually goes into the night where everyone lets their hair down and dances the night away
If, like us, you’re looking for the local vibe, this is the place to find it. Families with young children get to see the real thing.
Food & Wine
One of the most attractive parts of the Nelson-Tasman area, is its food & wine producing area. There is only so much you can take of the more generic mass produced wineries, before you feel like just a number. Well the good news is, that the Tasman Region is full of family-owned boutique wineries. These vineyards are much smaller and by far, more personalised. In fact, there’s an excellent chance you’ll actually meet the winemaker – that has to be an added bonus – even more, if there is a restaurant attached.
Neudorf Winery in the Moutere Hills, is the perfect example of a relaxed few hours of sheer pleasure, and whats more, children are welcomed here. At certain times of the year, families are able to bring their own picnic baskets and lunch among the vines.
Some of these vineyards are found in the Upper Moutere, the prettiest area with a great country vibe.
Another great option in the Upper Moutere area is the Moutere Hills Vineyard. Now this vineyard houses the Forsters restaurant, which could best be described as a more gourmet experience. Having lunch or dinner here, is a lovely way to celebrate a special event, or just the sheer happiness of being a traveller!
Kahurangi Estate Wines
A bit further down the road, is Kahurangi Estate Wines. The great thing about these vineyards is that they’re quite close to one another. Surely wine tasting should be a relaxing pursuit, without the long drive.
Fossil Ridge Winery
At the opposite end of town, in the Richmond area, there’s a great little family-owned vineyard called Fossil Ridge. I have to admit to having a very soft spot for this family-owned vineyard. We try to make it here for lunch at least once during their open season. The restaurant is run so seamlessly and the menu has always stayed the same – they know what works! What could be nicer than being surrounded by a large pond with flowering lily-pads?
If you’re looking for something special, a winery where the wines that are perfectly handcrafted, you’ll probably need an appointment to see at least some of these. Although Blackenbrook Wines in the Tasman Village area have open days, you probably won’t want to risk missing out. Its best to make an appointment with them. Their wines have are award-winners.
Spencer Hill, Himmelfeld and Te Mania vineyards also have a prestigious following from both the local and overseas markets. Overall, not a bad effort indeed, for an underpopulated region like the Nelson-Tasman. We’re really punching above our weight when it comes to food and wine producers.