The large river plains near Blenheim were purpose-built by nature for wine growing. Long dry summers with warm days and cool nights help grapes to retain acidity over a long ripening period. Shallow, fast draining, low fertility soils help to produce quality wines because they reduce the vines' vigour. Marlborough wines are known for vibrant fruit and crisp, herbaceous characters.
About 59 per cent of the grapes are sauvignon blanc. Pinot noir (15 per cent) and chardonnay (13 per cent) are the other main wine styles.
Wineries range from large exporting companies to small, cosy vineyards. Many give you the chance to match wine to food at an adjacent café or restaurant. The sunny climate lends itself well to alfresco dining and wine tasting in wonderfully scenic settings. You'll also find boutique breweries, olive groves and liqueur distilleries to further tempt the palate.
Touring the wineries by bicycle is a great way to fully enjoy the scenic and culinary delights of the Marlborough vineyards. You can pick up a wine trail map from any information centre, and there are plenty of places to hire a bike in either Blenheim or the satellite town of Renwick, just five minutes from the airport.