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Wellington is lucky enough to be tucked between two of New Zealand’s wine-growing regions – world-famous Marlborough to the south, and lesser known Wairarapa to the north. Sitting at the heart of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, Wairarapa is a boutique wine region known for its plummy Pinot Noir and warm hospitality.
At the heart of the Wairarapa wine region is the Martinborough wine village, a charming colonial town that provides easy access to over 20 wineries, most of them small, family-owned businesses.
Te Kairanga is one of Martinborough's founding vineyards, established over 20 years ago. With a dedicated team in both the vineyard and winery, Te Kairanga is the perfect place to enjoy fine wine and warm hospitality. The Cellar Door is open every day and is a perfect stop on your wine tour. TK (as it's often referred to) also hosts fantastic market days throughout the summer months.
If you’re looking for a real boutique experience, you can’t beat Poppies. Husband and wife team, Shayne and Poppy run this purpose-built tasting and celebration venue, with Poppy making the wines and Shayne managing the vines. Poppies wine is available exclusively at the vineyard. Be sure to try one of their famous platters of local produce after your tastings!
Other renowned vineyards in Martinborough include Ata Rangi, Palliser Estate, and Murdoch James Estate, all open daily. If you want to explore further afield, check out Gladstone Vineyard in nearby Gladstone, or Loopline Vineyard in Masterton.
Wairarapa can easily be done as a day trip from Wellington, either by car, or by train via Featherston, where shuttles can transport visitors over to Martinborough.
The great thing about Martinborough is that the wineries are within walking or biking distance of the town square – so no need to worry about driving! You can pick up a wine map from the Martinborough i-Site, to help guide you on your way around the country lanes.
For a relaxed and fun way to explore, you can’t beat cycling around the vines. Vineyards and cellar doors are scattered close to the wine village, distances are short and the terrain is flat and easy. Saddle up with Green Jersey Cycle Tours and you’ll receive a delicious picnic lunch to enjoy in the vines, or one of the many other bike hire options.
If you would prefer to let someone else lead (and drive) the way, jump on a Tranzit Martinborough Gourmet Wine Tour which includes the train trip from Wellington, a full guided day of wine tasting and a scrumptious lunch.
If you decide you want to soak up more of the local produce and charm, consider staying for a couple of days. There’s plenty of accommodation options in Martinborough, from five star lodges to cosy cottages.
Peppers Parehua Martinborough offers luxury accommodation set amongst the picturesque vines, while the Martinborough Hotel is right in the heart of the wine village, and occupies a charming and historic building, built in 1882. For a rustic escape, stay in one of the many local cottages, such as Fig Tree Cottage, or stay at The Old Manse, a charming hosted bed and breakfast right by the vines.