There are many wine tours to choose from in the Marlborough region so reviews were important to me when I started the search. We knew we wanted a private tour as we were flying into Blenheim from Wellington in the morning and returning on the ferry in evening -- we wanted to maximize our time at the wineries.
After emailing several companies requesting information we settled on Highlights for a couple of reasons; the reviews were very good, the prices, while not inexpensive, were reasonable, and we had our choice of motor vehicles in which we would be transported from one 'cellar door' to the next. In addition the owners were very accommodating regarding picking us up at the airport in the morning and dropping us at the ferry in the late afternoon.
We could not have chosen better - Colleen, our guide, was an absolute blast - we enjoyed her company as much as the wines we sampled! Given all the arrangements I had made for our trip to NZ, I had forgotten that Colleen requested I choose between a couple of restaurants for lunch. It wasn't until the night before our tour when I re-read her email :-(. But I emailed her with the restaurant we selected and she was able to pull off a reservation (which we later found was probably not easy - the restaurant - Rock Quarry - served us the best meal we had while in New Zealand and they were fully booked).
Unfortunately our flight arrived 90 minutes late so we got a later start to the day than we would have liked. But Colleen was waiting for us at the airport nonetheless and we stopped at a local diner to grab a quick breakfast before heading out on the tour. Colleen presented some options for us (regarding the type of wineries we would visit) and allowed us to provide feedback on her suggestions.
Including the Rock Quarry winery (where we had a long, leisurely lunch in combination with a wine tasting) we visited six wineries in about seven hours They were all small, boutique and family owned, which is what we had requested. We so enjoyed the wines, the "Managers on Duty" at each 'cellar door' (we just call them wineries in the States:-) and Colleen.
Five Stars for Highlights!
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