About Marlborough Region

PICTON - 25 minutes north east of Blenheim by road or rail through lush vineyards, dairy - (Spot the Jersey Cows!), sheep farms and also deer farms. Even welsh ponies that are gorgeous!. You arrive over the Elevation Pass created by early glacial and earthquake activity to catch a glimpse of our Queen Charlotte Sound.  Picton has a population of 5,000 and is a very pretty seaside town with busy fun foreshore for locals and visitors with many water activities to choose from.   Like Renwick it has it's own unique history from Captain Cook arriving in 1770 and the history of the Maori inhabitants and way of life.  Picton was a whaling port and the existing foundations are still there in Shakespeare Bay where our growing timber industry stores their timber ready for shipping. Kaipupu lies between Shakespeare Bay and the Port and has been named a trust reserve for wild life and eradicating all the vermin from that area. Kiwi and the Red crowned parakeet have been introduced to Kaipupu. You can take a short boat trip around the Island and be dropped off to enjoy a walk among the serene natural bush of punga ferns and listen to the bird life. (Spot the Kiwi!)

Our inter-island ferries between Wellington on the southern tip of the North Island and Picton known as the Gateway to the South (70 km by sea) look after our freight and passengers over Cook Strait that is usually calm but can be one of the roughest stretches

of water. Coming into the Queen Charlotte Sounds by ferry gives you a wonderful view of our secluded bays, residents homes scattered on the hillsides, and our boating life that most locals take advantage of.  Each season from October through to April we welcome cruise ships into Port. Passengers have a chance to enjoy Picton, have REAL coffee and take a tour into the Marlborough wine region of which Your Local Chauffeur offers with passion and pride and loves sharing it with visitors.

Activities: Mail boat cruises, kayaking, swimming with dolphins, sailboarding, great walks around the Queen Charlotte Track choosing your own pace. Kai pupu Trust Reserve. Many cafés offering fresh food and excellent espresso, several fine craft galleries, grocery stores and a supermarket.

RENWICK - has a population of 2000 and was the first township settled before Blenheim 

Here as part of the Wairau Valley Plains, the majority of the 23,000 hectares of vineyards are planted spreading North East through the Rapaura countryside and to the South West in the sister valley - Waihopai Valley. Vineyards in The Southern Valleys near our coastline are included on the other side of Blenheim near our Grovetown and Spring Creek communities.

The Renwick area is set on river gravels and greywake stone nearer the main Wairau River and the Sauvignon Blanc just loves the terroir, hence it being our largest produced wine in Marlborough and Marlborough produces 77% of New Zealand wine total.  Pinot Noir grows well in Renwick and most cellar doors will have it on tasting. Pinot Noir does very well with a little clay in the soil and on our drier side of the Valley and you can taste these on the wine trail through the Rapaura and Renwick area. Many of the vineyards have parcels of grape in different parts of the Valley to achieve the ultimate wine just for you.

Renwick is a satellite village to Blenheim, right in the heart of the vineyards. It boasts a museum of agricultural history, a supermarket, pubs with local taverns and an Ol' English Pub offering wine and beer, accommodation and some serviced shops. Really great fish and chips!

Renwick is of Scottish heritage. Dr Thomas Renwick was a ship's surgeon and arrived in Nelson in 1842. he bought land in the Awatere and Waihopai Valleys. He travelled each month to oversee his properties - probably on foot? it was suggested to him that he should divide the township into sections and 6 acres were transformed into a church and a school. The town was named Renwick and the street names were named after battles of generals and places - Oudenarde, Clive, Havelock, Clyde, Alma, Picton, Anglesea and Uxbridge. many other businesses followed. By 1905 had a population of 350 with post office, telephone, large public school, two churches, two hotels, several general stores, cabinet making, black smiths, engineering and more. The countryside in sheep and agriculture. 

Activities: Wine tasting everywhere! - agriculture, Speedway, Historical Museum, Yoga, Renwick Pies at the bakery - best in town! - Cork and Keg (Old English Pub - fantastic local Marlborough cuisine, supermarket, fish and chips. Many beautiful homestays and B & B's among the vineyards for your secluded and fun Marlborough holiday.  

HAVELOCK - Travelling North West on a 40 minutes scenic drive from Blenheim (everywhere you go in Marlborough has a scenic note) you arrive in Havelock the home of our great mussel and salmon farming, more boating and fishing opportunities and a more expansive Keneperu Sound and Pelorus Sound.  All the Sounds put together measure  15,134 km of coastline - one third of the total NZ coastline and the ninth longest in the entire world.Our main seafood company Sanfords is based here in Havelock and employs many locals and visa visitors to our country.

Activities: Lunch with fresh mussels and seafood overlooking the Havelock Marina or take a BBQ Kat on a slow pace through the Sounds and rest on a local reserve beach for a BBQ lunch or even have a swim. Even a thrilling jet boat ride , 360 degree turn and meander as well through the Estuary and hear about some of our Maori history. Boat trips leave regularly for fishing, mussel farm visits and scenic tours. Find out more on the mussel farming in the article 'Marlborough's Industry' below.


SEDDON - Back to Blenheim Seddon is a special place to visit just 25 km  South East from Blenheim travelling through our tussock hills and views to the Pacific Ocean in places.  Yealands Estate is a very creative and innovative winery designed and created by Peter Yealands. Sheep farming is still a large part of Seddon lifestyle in the surrounding countryside.

 Activities: Yealand Winery - a must to see. Short drives through to the Pacific Ocean coastline for crayfish. Marlborough Salt Works is not far away and a fabulous sight.


Things you may like to know ...

Climate: High sunshine hours, moderate temperatures, warm days and cool nights - great for locals, great for grapes
Summer can be quite hot - up to 26 -30 degrees C. Winter can have cool mornings and beautiful sunny days of 16 - 19 Degrees C.
At any time of the year Marlborough can find you lots to see and do.

  • Annual Average Sunshine - 2,409 hours
  • Annual Average Rainfall - 655 mm
  • Marlborough's Population: 46,170
  • Land Area: 14,534 sq km
  • Vineyards to compare in land area: 230 sq km
  • Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku is the highest peak of the Kaikoura Ranges and highest in NZ bar the Southern Alps
    and is seen in its' glory peaking over the top of the southern hill ranges.
  • The Rainbow skii field is only 2 hours drive and the St Arnaud area offers great holiday cottages and lake walks. Follow the West Coats highway.
  • The beautiful Wairau Valley is referred to by Maori as "Kei puta te Wairau' - The place with the hole in the cloud
  • 'Wairau' the name given to our main river, our Valley and Plains has a Maori meaning: 'Wai' meaning water and 'rau' meaning flowing


  • 2015: Total of 233,182 tonnes produced (all varietals)
  • 2016: Total of 323,290 tonnes produced (all varietals)
  • 2015: Sauvignon – 197,433 tonnes, Riesling – 2,610 tonnes, Pinot Gris – 8,119 tonnes, Pinot Noir – 13,116 tonnes, Chardonnay – 9,783 tonnes
  • 2016: Sauvignon – 277,358 tonnes, Riesling – 2,535 tonnes, Pinot Gris – 10,504 tonnes, Pinot Noir – 19,431 tonnes, Chardonnay – 10,591 tonnes
  • 2015 : 23,000 hectares of vines in Marlborough
  • 2016: 534 of New Zealand’s grape growers are in Marlborough
  • 2016: 141 of New Zealand’s wineries are based in Marlborough
  • Marlborough alone produces 76.9% of New Zealand’s wine
  • The rest of New Zealand produces the balance of 23.1%
  • 2016: Sauvignon is the most widely grown in Marlborough 85.8% of total wine produced
  • 2016: The total New Zealand harvest was 436,100 tonnes
  • Gisborne produces 4% of New Zealand wines
  • Central Otago produces 3% of New Zealand wines
  • Nelson produces 2% of New Zealand wines
  • Waipara (Christchurch) produces 2% of New Zealand wines
  • Wairarapa produces 1%

BRANCOTT ESTATE: Owned by Pernot Ricard
Stoneleigh: Owned by Pernot Ricard

CLOUDY BAY: Owned by Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessy

WITHER HILLS: owned by Lion Nathan

Any information provided in this document ii subject to change due to future events, figures and statistics and property ownership. 

What is Wine without Food?  
- Well some wines are just gorgeous and to enjoy relaxing in our sunny climate. Rose, Frivoli and even Pinot Gris.  

Again the weather in Marlborough has led farming and agriculture over the many years to distinct flavours, aromas and tastes that we are so accustom to and our visitors are in awe. There is produce for every season and some we have all year round. 

  • In Spring we enjoy asparagus, fresh peas and early strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries
  • In Summer juicy cherries, and more strawberries and apricots and nectarines our stone fruit favourites
  • In Autumn we have apples (Nelson is the big apple grower), we pick olives frantically to get them pressed into our superb local oil
  • In Winter our hearty vegetables have deep flavours and fresh from the markets direct from the producers..... 

...and of course our wine harvest. The most magnificent display of scenic landscapes can be seen from the green, gold and browns of the vines as they progress through the vintage that lasts 6 weeks, but the glory of the view lasts much longer.
Sauvignon as you know already is the largest grape grown in Marlborough and the only variety that can be harvested, bottled and enjoyed in the same year. 

All year round we can enjoy wines from last vintage and sauvignon from previous, last and new vintage, we also enjoy our local sea foods of blue cod, snapper, salmon, terakihi, green lipped mussels scallops and crayfish.

Lamb, beef and venison too.... 

Put it all together on a plate and your Wine and Food Pairing is done.

For an example of Food Matches - Lawsons Dry Hills have supplied their rendition that I believe is pretty close and you will find it on the Home Page under the article 'Sensational Wines' Just Waiting for You.