Last time we were in New Zealand and visited Hanmer Springs, we noticed ” goings on” about 15 minutes drive away from the village. These “goings-on” involved the appearance of grapevines in what had previously been tussock fields stocked with sheep.
We had looked in curiosity but it was clear that it was still early days, the vines were still small and relatively immature and there was construction going on too… a winery? Who knew?
This trip, two years on, it’s clear that people have been very busy here, the vines have matured visibly, the construction we saw in progress earlier has finished and wow, there’s even an entrance plaque at the gate. We have arrived at Marble Point Winery.
The driveway is a long gravel one with excellent views of the rugged surrounding countryside. It winds around the contours of the land and brings us on this dusty and windy day to the tasting area and shop… we tumble out of the car with anticipation and head inside. Only Himself will be tasting today, as I’ll be driving us back into Hanmer Springs.
Our trip to NZ and our stay in Hanmer happily coincides with the first year of harvest and wine that Marble Point has produced… there is Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Reisling and Chardonnay. Himself has fun tasting and we buy some to take back to Hanmer with us.
The shop sells not just the wine but also some other local artisan products… all that is needed now is a little café on the side or at least a few food products.. who knows, I can at least hope…maybe in the future? I do some digging on the internet and come up with a website, where they say that they hope in the future to have a café, excellent thought people, I’ll be putting my culinary skills to the test and hopefully reviewing food as well as wine on a future visit.
I also find this piece of information on the website “ Situated on old alluvial terraces of the Waiau River, which once formed part of Marble Point Station.”
BTW …A “Station” in this context has nothing to do with railways.. it’s the Down Under name given to a farm.. a big farm… as Wiki aptly describes here: A sheep station is a large property (Station, the equivalent of a ranch) in Australia or New Zealand whose main activity is the raising of sheep for their wool and meat. In Australia, sheep stations are usually in the south-east or south-west of the country. In New Zealand the Merinos are usually in the high country of the South Island. These properties may be thousands of square kilometres in size and run low stocking rates to be able to sustainably provide enough feed and water for the stock.“
I am a bit disappointed that the lady we talked to in the shop was not very enthusiastic or overly friendly, at first I though it was just me and my impression, but alas Himself mentioned it too during the car ride home.
I sincerely hope that it’s a case of being very new indeed to working with the General Public, and that since they had barely opened, that it might possibly be first customer nerves, at least I really hope so, because if this stays as the level of customer service then I wouldn’t be persuaded to make a return visit.
It is a shame that someone starting a brand new enterprise is not full of the amazing freshness of enthusiasm for the project… maybe it’s just the quirk of one persons personality, but it was a shame, because in my experience genuine infectious enthusiasm gets you more than onside with your customers, it sells the product… and sells people on your business since I really believe that deep down we love to see someone chasing the dream and making a go of a small business. I can only hope that we caught this lady on a bad day.
I liked seeing photographs on the wall that show part of the building up of the vineyard, a little (even a short) history is nice and the large map of the Hanmer area also helped to connect the winery with the surrounding geography, not so necessarily for us, who know this area quite well now, but important for visitors who don’t.
The setting is delightful and the sheep watch us from the paddock close to the car park, as the hill loom around us. The wine isn’t bad at all.. not the best we’ve ever had, but also definitely not the worst, and it’s early days yet for this establishment.
Little Mr. wants us to get this down so that he can play with it… sorry son, a) it’s not ours, so NO, and b) it’s a look with your eyes type of toy and not look with your hands… I did agree it was a delightful bit of recycling though.
The view down the road if you are standing at the front gate…
On the whole we are certainly pleased to have visited here and next visit to New Zealand in a few years time, hope to pop in again and see how it has progressed.
Marble Point Winery is about 13 kilometers south of Hanmer Springs , so if you are driving towards Hanmer from Christchurch you won’t miss it.
PO Box 87
PH 03 315 7679
FAX 03 315 7677
Shop 03 315 7579
Open Daily from 10am to 5pm