Sleeping Among the Grapes

There are a growing number of vineyard accommodations for visitors to choose from. Le Grys Homestay & Premium Wines ($£, Le Grys Vineyard, Conders Bend Road, Renwick (© 03/572-9490; www.legrys.co.nz), offers a divine mud block cottage for NZ$225 (US$124), plus NZ$45 (US$25) each extra person and a room in the main house for NZ$140 (US$77). The moderate rates (NZ$130-$140/US$72-$77) at the Black Birch Lodge, Jeffries Road, Blenheim (® 03/572-8876; [email protected] co.nz), include breakfast, and all guest rooms have en-suite bathrooms. Isabel Estate Vineyard/Moose Lodge, 1030 Hawkesbury Rd., Renwick (® 03/572-8300; www.isabelestate.com), has a lodge that sleeps 12. Doubles go for NZ$95 (US$52) and breakfast NZ$10 (US$5.50) per person. Another option is Thainstone Estate Vineyard & Homestay, Giffords Road, Blenheim (® and fax 03/572-8823), which offers three B&B rooms at NZ$120 (US$66) and a 2-bedroom self-contained cottage for NZ$180 (US$99).

vineyard restaurants in the area. Over 27 years old, the winery produces chardonnay, sauvignon, and Riesling. The cellar is open for tasting daily from 9am to 5pm; the restaurant opens daily for lunch at noon.

Hunter's Wines , Rapaura Road, Blenheim (& 03/572-8489; www. hunters.co.nz), is home to Jane Hunter, acclaimed as one of the five best women winemakers in the world. The winery is hugely popular with tour groups. The slightly dated restaurant is open daily from noon until late; the wine shop, Monday through Saturday from 9:30am to 4:30pm and Sunday from 11am to 3:30pm.

Grove Mill (SftJftjP, Waihopai Valley Rd, Renwick (& 03/572-8200; www. grovemill.co.nz), is well worth a visit, especially if you're also an art lover. In addition to producing medal-winning chardonnay, Riesling, and cabernet sauvignon, its gallery features exhibitions of nationally recognized New Zealand artists. It's open daily from 11am to 5pm.

Cellier Le Brun , Terrace Road, Renwick (& 03/572-8859; www.lebrun. co.nz), has a delightful cafe. French winemaker Daniel Le Brun established the vineyard in 1980, and with 12 generations of champagne making behind him, he's truly established in his new venture.

Gillan Estate Wines, Rapaura Road, Blenheim (& 03/572-9979; www.gillan. co.nz), combines award-winning architecture with excellent wine and food, while Lawson's Dry Hills Winery, Alabama Road, Blenheim (& 03/578-7674; www. lawsonsdryhills.co.nz), also has a very good reputation for its wines and fine dining.

Johanneshof Cellars, State Highway 1, Koromiko (& 03/573-7035;

[email protected]), has spectacular underground wine cellars blasted into the hillside. Huia, Boyces Road, Blenheim (& 03/572-8326; www.huia. net.nz), is an up-and-coming winery open for tastings daily from 10am to 4:30pm. Herzog's Winery & Restaurant <®&iP, 81 Jeffries Rd., Blenheim (& 03/5728770; www.herzog.co.nz), has burst onto the scene with a now-famous luxury gourmet restaurant (see "Where To Dine," below).

WINERY TOURS The DeLuxe Travel Line, 45 Main St., Blenheim (& 0800/ 500-511 in NZ, or 03/578-5467; www.deluxetravel.co.nz), has a 6-hour wine tour that takes in winery highlights and includes lunch at one of the wineries. Pic-ton departures cost NZ$54 (US$30) per person; Blenheim departures cost NZ$49 (US$27). The Sounds Connection ^jftf?, 10 London Quay, Picton (& 0800/742-866 in NZ or 03/573-8843; www.soundsconnection.co.nz), has daily afternoon wine tours from NZ$45 (US$25) per person and full-day tours from NZ$55 (US$30). Its groups are smaller, and you can choose the vineyards. And if you want some exercise while you see the wineries, call Wine Tours By Bike^itfp, 106 Jeffries Rd., Blenheim (& 03/577-0051; www.winetoursbybike. co.nz), which will take you on an exploration of its favorite cycling roads, scenic spots, vineyards, wineries, arts, crafts, and olive or fruit farms. Stop at a vineyard for lunch (extra cost) and soak up the quiet calm of this divine area. The tour is NZ$60 (US$33) per person, plus NZ$120 (US$66) per day or NZ$25 (US$14) per hour for a guide.

Making Your Own Wine

Making Your Own Wine

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