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The Marlborough Food and Wine Festival, 2016

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Every year Marlborough hosts a fantastic celebration of the best our region is famous for – food and wine! The town and its surrounds become very busy during this weekend so planning ahead is essential. This year the Festival is on the 13th of February. 

Set in the Brancott Vineyard, 110 Brancott Road and surrounded by vineyards, the festival opens at 10:30 and closes at 6:00pm. The entertainment goes all day, and wine sales finish at 5:30pm. The festival features over 40 Marlborough wineries, and to sustain you during the day are over 20 foodie stalls including local favourites Hans Herzog Estate, Cloudy Bay Clams, Kaikoura Cheese Company and CPR Coffee - should you need a mid-festival caffeine hit!

There are cooking demonstrations throughout the day in the Culinary Pavilion, and entry to the Pavilion is free to all festival ticket holders. This year sees a fantastic line up of Colin Fassnidge, Peta Mathias, Annabelle White, Nici Wickes, Michael Meredith and Bradley Hornby. 

For your entertainment there are two stages, the Main Stage and the Acoustic Stage and headlong the event is Ladi6

But wait, there’s more! The day after:

The Vines Village are hosting the Food and Wine Wind Down on the 14th of February, between 10am and 5pm, with Whitehaven Wines, the Old Orchard Café, live music and a morning Yoga session!
Hanz Herzog Estate are hosting Jazz in the Vines in their Restaurant Garden on Jeffries Road between 2pm and 4pm. Entry price is $25pp and includes a glass of wine upon entry, bookings essential.

If you are attending the festival, and sharing via social media is your thing, use the following hashtags: #fashioninthevines #marlwinefest 

Things to Do in Marlborough with the Family

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There is much more to Marlborough than the sunshine, grape vines and wine cellars, with lots of activities around the region to excite the whole family... perhaps in between sips of world renowned Sauvingnon Blanc. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started.

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Marlborough's Aviation Centre offers a fascinating exhibition of planes and memorabilia from WW1, including Sir Peter Jackson’s own collection. Everyone in the family will be captivated by the amazing displays from Weta Workshop. There's also an on-site cafe and souvenir shop and for the more adventurous, the thrill of a vintage joy flight.

Picnic in a park

Pollard Park is a little known treasure. Close to Blenheim and with over 24ha of wooded parkland including a meandering stream, rose gardens, BBQs and children's playgrounds, it is the perfect spot for a relaxed family picnic. 

Cycling and mountain biking

Hire bikes - why not a tandem? - and get the whole family on wheels, out enjoying the flat, scenic cycling through Marlborough's vineyards and orchards. If you're keen on hills and trails, head to the Wither Hills Farm Park with 40 hectares of mountain bike trails right at Blenheim's back door.

Visit the Marlborough Sounds

The Vintners Retreat is the perfect base for exploring the stunning Marlborough Sounds. These picturesque landscapes are a watery playground for boating, safe swimming, kayaking and watching marine and bird life. A cruise out to the Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary is a popular option for those wanting a close encounter with the wildlife.

Walking and hiking

If you've over indulged in Marlborough's delicious produce, there are numerous short walks and even multi day hikes to help you walk it off! The most well known is the Queen Charlotte Walkway in the Sounds but there are many others - if you have the time, take the family to explore Nelson Lakes National Park at the head of Marlborough's Wairau Valley.

Vintners Retreat offers beautiful accommodation in Marlborough highly suited to families.

Our Picks of the Marlborough Wineries for Lunch

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Marlborough Winery Sunset

Marlborough is a beautiful setting for lunch and many of our local vineyards have restaurants that provide a high standard of food and service. All place emphasis on using fresh, locally sourced food, served of course with matching wines.

Below are a few of our recommended suggestions, all within an easy distance from our accommodation. We recommend booking a table in advance, especially in summer – these places get very popular.

Wairau River

Distance from us: 7 minute walk, open daily 12-3pm

A beautiful venue that’s great for families, this winery features a large outside grassy area with games overlooked by the seating area. In the winter, the big indoor fireplace provides a cosy atmosphere with plenty of good tables.

Try: Salmon or pork belly burger


Distance from us: 3 minute walk, open daily 10am – 4.30pm

Giesen’s tasting room opens out to a sheltered courtyard perfect for long lazy lunches.

Try: Their famous platters

Allan Scott

Distance from us: 4 minute drive, open daily 9.30am – 4pm

Named after the trees that line the entranceway, Allan Scott’s Twelve Trees restaurant boasts immaculate gardens with fountains and a giant chess board.

Try: The seafood chowder

Rock Ferry Wines

Distance from us: 8 minute drive, open daily 10am – 4.30pm

Rock Ferry has a relaxed ambiance in a beautiful garden setting. The menu is shorter than some of the other wineries but varies more often.

Try: Any of the desserts

Saint Clair

Distance from us: 8 minute drive, open daily 9am – 5pm (10-4 in winter)

If wine isn’t your thing, Saint Clair also offers local ciders and an extensive range of craft beers from New Zealand breweries. The restaurant was renovated in 2015 and provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere with lots of big windows.

Try: Slow cooked pork belly

Brancott Estate Heritage Centre

Distance from us: 9 minute drive, open daily 10am – 4.30pm

The view alone makes this winery worth a visit – looking out over the vines from its vantage point on a high ridge. 

Try: Lamb.

Vintners Retreat offers beautiful vineyard accommodation in Marlborough.

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