The ultimate NZ experience for wine loving women
The land of the long white cloud is famous for many gorgeous things. Especially their WINE! So, after successful, sell-out Fabulous Ladies Tours to Champagne and Margaret River, we thought it was time we took a group of fabulous wine loving women across the ditch to visit our Kiwi neighbours for a seriously fun wine adventure.
What makes New Zealand wine so special? Simply, it’s all about the Terroir; the exceptional climate, soil and people that form the key ingredients in making New Zealand’s wines as distinctive as its exceptional scenery.
Like everything we do here at The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society, this 7-day tour has been meticulously put together with every detail designed to exude fabulousness. And of course, we have a strong bent towards visiting and highlighting the women in the New Zealand wine industry who are doing remarkable things.
You will be staying in extraordinary properties, tasting incredible wines, meeting and spending time with world class local producers – and eating and drinking the very best New Zealand has to offer. All in the fabulous company of other wine loving women.
Meet your host – Jane Thomson
You will be personally escorted and guided on the tour by Australia’s own fabulous lady of wine Jane Thomson – founder of The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society, the Australian Women in Wine Awards, and winner of the Digital Wine Communicator of the Year 2016 & 2013. Jane will be opening doors (and wines!) to give you the inside secrets on some of New Zealand’s very best wine experiences.
While there are so many amazing wine regions in NZ, we have decided to focus on two for this tour, splitting our time between Central Otago and Marlborough.
Central Otago - 3 1/2 days
Home to some of the world’s best Pinot Noir, Central Otago is also renowned for incredible Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and some seriously amazing Sparkling wines. All set amongst snow capped mountain peaks, deep river valleys and crystal clear glacial lakes. We’ll be exploring this picturesque region from that most adventurous and decadent of cities, Queenstown.
Marlborough - 3 1/2 days
The world knows it for Sauvignon Blanc, but it’s not until you get here and discover the natural beauty of the landscape and the depth and diversity of it’s wines that you really understand just how special the wines from this region can be. Sav like you’ve never sipped it before (think wild ferments, cellar age, sub-regional styles and more) plus Sparkling wines and Chardonnays to die for, along with distinctively delicious Shiraz and more.
This tour is strictly limited to 12 ladies only
Experience a fabulous, VIP wine adventure not available to the general public
The Fabulous Itinerary
Day ONE: SUNDAY 11th March, 2018 Arrive: St. Moritz Hotel, Queenstown ( by own arrangements) Check-in to Garden View Guest Room anytime after 2 pm. Then gather for the fabulous welcome dinner at 7pm at the award-winning Lombardi Restaurant in the hotel.
Day TWO: MONDAY 12th March, 2018 After a decadent full breakfast, meet in the lobby at 9am to begin our first full and fabulous day! First stop is a visit to the delightful family run vineyard of Aurum Winery. Winemaker and daughter-in-law Lucie, hails from Burgundy in France, hence the wines have a great Burgundian feel to them. Lucie will guide us through her incredible wines.
From Aurum, we’ll be heading to nearby Misha’s Vineyard for an opportunity to “earn your lunch” by assisting another high- profile maker and influencer, Misha Wilkinson and her team with some vineyard work. The spectacular 57-hectare estate on the edge of Lake Dunstan is usually not open to the public and this is a rare chance to gain an overview of the unique NW facing location and its terroir. After instruction and an expert demonstration, take part in the tending of vines or whatever is needed today in the life of this busy vineyard. After we have ‘earned our keep’ we’ll be rewarded with a relaxed lunch and wine tasting at Ah Foo’s House – an old gold mining ruin on the vineyard property.
As we leave Misha’s we’ll enjoy a brief stop at one of the area’s best known fruit orchards who just happen to make simply the BEST fresh fruit salad ice- cream… anywhere! Then it’s onwards to Peregrine Wines for an in-depth winery tour and tasting of fine, cool-climate wines in this stunning architecturally designed winery.
We’ve left time in the afternoon for a little explore of Arrowtown. Take a stroll around the historic former gold-mining town, with its eclectic mix of quaint village shops and latest designer outlets. Once you’ve shopped til you’ve dropped we’ll return to the hotel, leaving you with the remainder of evening free to explore Queenstown’s restaurants and vibrant night-life.
Day THREE: TUESDAY 13TH March, 2018 – Your morning free to explore Queenstown. Wander around the lake, grab a coffee and do some shopping or – for the adventurous – launch yourself into the world famous bungy jump! Be back at the St Moritz by 11:30am for pick up at hotel where we’ll head to Carrick Winery.
Enjoy a platter style lunch at this stunning location, typically the selection includes smoked salmon, venison salami, Spanish chorizo sausage, local cheeses, chutneys, pesto, dried fruits and freshly baked breads, accompanied by fine wine.
After lunch we’ll head to Felton Road for a lesson in biodynamic viticulture and take a tour through the gravity fed winery. This is an in depth look into Felton Road viticulture and winemaking and who knows; you may receive an invitation to the “notorious” Voodoo Lounge! Felton Road is a member of the ‘Family of Twelve’ winemakers.
In the afternoon there’s time to enjoy a coffee and a chance to stretch your legs and wander the historic Old Cromwell town High Street precinct – home to local artists and artisans.
The next stop of the day is worth waiting for – Quartz Reef – which is one of the regions original vineyards and produces stunning sparkling Pinot-Chardonnay Methode Traditionnelle.
Your afternoon will culminate with a unique wine and food matching experience as we finish the day in style at Wild Earth Wines. Utilising retired French Oak Pinot Noir wine barrels, chef’s signature dish and your dining option this evening, is “The Oak Stave” – five tasting dishes designed to share and paired perfectly with a tasting flight of five award winning Wild Earth wines.
Jen Parr, Wild Earth’s winemaker and chef/owner Quintin Quider will host tonight’s dinner – walking us through the philosophy behind the how the wines are matched to the deliciously unique, flavours of this Wild-foods based regional dinner. We’ll return to the hotel for an early night about 9pm.
Day FOUR: WEDNESDAY 14th March, 2018 – After breakfast we’ll be departing at 10:15am for the airport to catch our domestic Air New Zealand flight to to Marlborough. It’s a quieter day today, as we make our way by air up the south island, arriving in the afternoon where we’ll be checking into the luxuriously appointed and magically located Raetihi Lodge.
To get to the lodge requires us to take a private water taxi transfer where we’ll be travelling through the picturesque Kenepuru Sounds. So stunning! Once you’ve unpacked and relaxed we’ll be enjoying a spectacular ‘Welcome to Marlborough’ dinner celebration in the stunning restaurant – with a few special guests.
Day FIVE: THURSDAY 15th March, 2018 – There are several things that make Marlborough iconic: the turquoise waters of the Marlborough Sounds, the Wither Hills, sun drenched weather reports and its wines. The vineyards of the Marlborough region are located across the northern tip of the South Island from Nelson to Blenheim and Picton and then on to Cloudy Bay and the Awatere Valley. Today’s focus is around the Nelson region, sampling a diverse range of varietals from some very impressive and typically low- key, Kiwi winemakers.
After a little Nelson City sightseeing we’ll head to Neudorf Wines with Judy Finn, Chair of acclaimed Family of XII winemakers. Judy will host our tasting today at her award winning cellar door. All proceeds from this tasting and visit are donated to the NZ Child Cancer Foundation and are matched $ for $ by us.
Get set to then experience one of New Zealand’s most exciting winery’s, Mahana Estate, in a truly stunning setting with views across Tasman Bay to Mount Arthur and beyond. The 2.5 hours experience will include; a cellar door wine tasting to gain an insight into the philosophy and points of difference that run through the various wines, followed by a guided tour through the architecturally designed gravity fed winery and surrounding organic vineyard. This is followed by a two course lunch at the Mahana Kitchen bistro.
After lunch it’s time for something completely different, and is very definitely like nothing you have ever seen before: a visit to the WOW WEARABLE ART museum. Founder, Dame Suzie Moncrieff says that she never envisaged her unusual venture, located in such a tiny, rural hamlet would grow to become what it is today. Exhibits of the sensational costumes on display now tour internationally, and the annual show is sold-out months in advance.
In the afternoon we’ll transfer to Havelock marina and our water taxi awaits – the end of an extraordinary day. Evening free.
Day SIX: FRIDAY 16th March, 2018 – An exclusive full day experience visiting some of the finest vineyards in the Blenheim and Picton regions of Marlborough.
First up is Johanneshof Cellars, a place for those who like their wine to sparkle. We’ll be hosed by another female winemaker, the delightful Edel Everling. The visit also includes a tour of the underground cellar – Johanneshof is a founding member of Methode Marlborough.
Then to where it all started for Marlborough – Cloudy Bay. The winery that put the Marlborough region on the international wine map. Cloudy Bay began in 1985 as one of the region’s first five wineries and is best known for its fruit-forward style of Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy a very special Barrel Hall private tasting and talk at this legendary place.
For lunch we’ll be heading to Hans Herzog Estate, one of New Zealand’s most truly artisan wineries. Specialising in varieties quite different to their nearby neighbors, some of the wines available to taste are made in such limited quantities that they are only available at the cellar door. Depending on vintage, these may include a Gewürztraminer, Nebbiolo, Zweigelt, Pinot Noir Rose and a wonderfully decadent Botrytis Chardonnay. The private tasting and tour is followed by a leisurely two course lunch at the fabulous bistro.
The afternoon will be spent visiting Wither Hills, another well known name and place where the architecture is as impressive as the fabulous wines. Taste a selection of wines including the Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with plenty of time to explore the building from its top floor look-out to the ground floor Pinot cellar.
After returning to our spectacular Raehiti Lodge, you’ll have time to relax and change before our final and totally decadent farewell dinner!
Day SEVEN: SATURDAY 17th March, 2018 – Our tour arrangements conclude today after a leisurely breakfast and quiet morning at the lodge. The water transfer today from Raetihi Lodge to Picton Marina arrives in Picton at approximately 12 Noon.