Continuing on our series of sharing the best places in Marlborough to visit – as chosen by our team who spends so much time on the winery tour and sightseeing routes of this great region that they’re very qualified to do the choosing! – we’re taking you to Hunter’s Wines. This is a winery steeped in Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc history, and run by wine industry leader Jane Hunter.
The story of Hunter’s
The Hunter’s story began in 1979 when Irishman Ernie Hunter bought land in Marlborough and planted grapes. In 1986 Hunter’s won The Sunday Times Vintage Festival in the UK with an oak aged Sauvignon Blanc and the wine world started to take notice of New Zealand wines. Just a few months ago, in April 2016, 30 years after that first win, Hunter’s repeated history by winning the prestigious Wine of the Show at the Sunday Times Vintage Festival in London, UK. This is just one of over 100 wins the company has accumulated.
Ernie Hunter was sadly killed in a car accident in 1987 and Jane Hunter, herself a qualified viticulturalist from an Australian grape growing family background, took over the management of Hunter’s Wines. Under Jane’s leadership, Hunter’s has gone from strength to strength. Jane has been described by the London Sunday Times as the First Lady of New Zealand wine and was awarded an OBE for service to the wine industry in 1993. In 2009 she was awarded the Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM). Hunter’s Wines has serious pedigree.
What’s at the end of the path?
The Hunter’s cellar door has reopened for the summer season with a new look – and a new take on tastings. The space now offers a sit down experience for tasting their award-winning wines, alongside the cellar door host who leads a discussion around the varieties, the approach, the people behind the wine – and anything else you care to know about! Designed to create a smaller group vibe (of around 12 people at a time seated around the table) this makes for a pleasant, intimate and welcoming cellar door experience.
Aside from the treat of sampling Hunter’s famous Sauvignon Blanc, the Méthode Traditionelle Sparkling Wine MiruMiru, the Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Rosé and Pinot Noir, there are other delights in store at the cellar door, which is open 7 days a week in summer.
The gardens, which won the Marlborough Environment Award in 2008–2009, include 2 hectares of beautiful native plantings featuring endangered plant species. Platters and pizzas, for children as well as adults, are available to take outside to enjoy in the garden or with your wine tasting.
Resident artist Marlborough-born Clarry Neame is another Hunter’s institution, having spent over 20 years based in his studio at Hunter’s! An impressionist oil painter, his art is created with both palette knife and brush, and – whether they be his more abstract works or landscapes and portraits – his passion, skill, and knack for colour and light shine through. Clarry’s studio is always open for viewing – and the artist is very approachable and happy to talk with those who pop down the path to see him and his work.
Sounds Connection Pick
Today’s pick comes from Maria – who has chosen the Hunter’s Riesling, the smart off-dry style, with delicious apple and floral notes, and a pleasing crisp acidity. This is a wine of real finesse, and very food-friendly, so Maria recommends you sit and sip this while enjoying some great Marlborough seafood!
Riesling has always been a winning variety for Hunter’s Wines – with every vintage of their Riesling winning at least a gold medal in the last five years (and with an impressive track record dating even further back). Is your mouth watering yet?
Ready to go?
So, whether you’re a local or visitor to this beautiful region and would like to sample the delights of one of the original Marlborough wineries, give us a call today about our half day or full day wine tours and we’d be more than happy to help.