Wine Tour South-South, Wine Tour North-South And What’s With All The Pumpkin Soup?

Recently I was perusing my drafts folder and realized I have a lot of unfinished business. Most of it I will trash, but this post that I started 2018 after my 13 day trip to New Zealand with Kelly, well, I really wanted it on my blog for prosperity. I wrote a few other posts about our trip and the adventure of this Florida girl driving on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road in a winter white-out. SO many unexpected things happened, but I can say for certain this is a country I would visit again. (if you care to read, I have a tag on the side of my page labeled New Zealand.)

After previewing this post and all the wine photos, I thought to myself: Kelly and I need a meeting.
But ONLY if that meeting includes wine.

I don’t know when it exactly happened, but at one point in the early 2000’s we switched from enjoying Italian Pinot Grigio to NZ Sauvignon blanc. I suppose I could go back and look at stock reports for the vineyards and see an uptick.

The wine was ONE of the allures to see NZ. Also, seeing my youngest favorite daughter.
I still can’t believe she traveled to NZ all by herself, although she does have an adventurous spirit. And had she NOT visited NZ, I never would have went there myself.

If you don’t know (because I didn’t) NZ is two islands; The North and The south Island.

We had two wine tours booked; One on the south part of the south island. The other on the north part of the south island.


While in Queenstown, (our first stop in NZ) our travel agent booked us a wine tour.
We didn’t know what to expect, other than wine tastings. We were picked up by a sweet gentleman and we were accompanied by another couple from the states. The tour was full of beautiful scenery, lovely stops to enjoy the views, learning some history of the area, some food and of course, wine.
Appellation Boutique Wine tour

The south part of the south island is known for its Pinot Noir vineyards because it is a much cooler climate than the north part of the south island. And this is where our New Zealand tour began, on the Southern part of the south island. Are we confused yet? No? but wait, there’s more.

The north part of the south island is where our beloved Sauvignon blanc is produced. That is the Marlbourough region.

We had many adventures on the south part of the south island, but this post is mainly about WINE and me typing north and south.


We thoroughly enjoyed the Sounds connection wine tour-Marlborough region; it was just a driver, Kelly, myself and a young couple from Australia who didn’t care for wine. I still can’t figure out why they did a wine tour; maybe they misread it as a Mine Tour? You know how kids are…

Spy valley was a really cool vineyard to visit; their cellar room was very modern and minimalistic. They are very close to a Spy Base that is part of the “five eyes” of intelligence alliances: the US, New Zealand, Canada, UK and Australia. Supposedly the spying is led by the US and of course, there is some disapproval around it all, but they, I need my NZ wine! Fun Fact: All bottles of Spy Valley Wine have Morse Code somewhere on them.

We really enjoyed the Framingham vineyard visit and occasionally I can find this particular wine at Total Wine and I have myself a travel flashback. (Currently, I can ALWAYS find it at Total wine and it’s high on my list!)

Cloudy bay has always been one of our favorites; Surprise Surprise, it’s also one of the most expensive. What can I say? I never had Trailer Park taste, even while I was there. Kelly actually spent a good part of her childhood in a trailer park too, so we often giggle about that and the fact that WE’RE IN NEW ZEALAND DRINKING our favorite WINE!

Lake Chalice was one of the smaller vineyards we visited in Marlborough. We were very impressed with the quality of the wine, the friendliness of the hostesses and the fact that they served us some food to go with the wine. Our other favorite thing aside from drinking NZ wine is snacking.

Pumpkin What?

While we were in NZ it was their ‘spring’ time. The weather was cool and crisp and we noticed that everywhere we ate they offered ‘pumpkin’ soup. I’m not sure if that is a year round option, or just in the cooler months but we partook several times and it was always a little different at each restaurant.

We finally asked someone and found out that it’s not always PUMPKIN even thought it’s called PUMPKIN. Sometimes it actually a variety of squash. Well played New Zealand, well played.

After 11 days of touring/driving the South Island from south to north, I was happy to drop off the rental car and to hop on a Ferry and head to the south side of the north island where Lindsay was visiting.

We had a such a great time. I would love to go back and see more of the South Island.

Soon after we arrived in Wellington we met up with Lindsay at a little restaurant for dinner and Kelly and I were….wait, what’s the word? It’s the opposite of impressed. Disappointed? Shocked? At the size of the wine glasses. So.very.petite. But at least the company was great and the wine delicious.

Ok. That was a lot of wine talk. If you don’t hear from me soon, I’ll get back to you in about 30 days.

Have any of my friends visited New Zealand? If not what is the ONE place you would like to revisit?

26 thoughts on “Wine Tour South-South, Wine Tour North-South And What’s With All The Pumpkin Soup?

  1. Bijoux

    I’ve not been but know one other person who went there and loved it. He was more into the hiking than the wine, but I think I’d have enjoyed the wine tours with you. Revisit? Probably Southern California or Maui.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a lovely place for nature lovers too; we really appreciated the beauty of New Zealand.
      I’ve never been to any of the Hawaii islands, yet. But we have the Caribbean at our back door so I’m lucky in that aspect.


  2. Drinking your way through New Zealand? Now that sounds like a perfect trip. Except for the pumpkin not always pumpkin soup as I’m not a big squash fan.
    As far as returning, for me it’s France hands down.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was a perfect trip and probably could never be recreated…but I’d love to try.

      I’ve not been to France and it’s not on my list of places to see, but I do see the allure for many.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Need a meeting . . so long as there is done. You are too much, or you’re drinking too much. Either way, this made me laugh. Was the north south typing as confusing as it was to be in two different directions at once?

    The couple did NOT like wine? Puzzling over that.

    This sounds like such a great trip. I have a ton of things in my drafts and recently I thought I NEED TO GO THRU THIS AND SEE IF ANY OF IT IS WORTH SHARING. Adding that to my list of things to do.

    When I was a kid I had a pen pal in Australia, so I always wanted to go there. Currently I’d like to go wherever my next kid studies abroad. They make good tour guides and seeing a kid who is away makes the missing them more bearable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a fantastic trip. I really DO use my blog as a diary of sorts and have to go back to see dates/places we’ve been because I forget. Back when I scrapbooked, I could just check there, but who has the time to scrapbook when you have the internet calling you?

      I agree, your kids make great tour guides. I wonder where you’ll be next. 😳


  4. Love the NZ sauv blancs. I haven’t been there, but I do know a winemaker from NZ who is now making lovely wines in Ontario, Canada. His sauv blancs are tremendous.

    Also, he is awfully pleasant to look at. And listen to. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We stock our wine cellar with wines from the Niagara, Ontario region. They have excellent wines made in the Bordeaux and Burgundy styles. The Niagara-on-the-Lake and Jordan regions are full of private wineries making tremendous boutique wines. Before the pandemic, we travelled there two or three times a year to taste and buy. We’ve gotten to be good friends with a lot of the winery owners and winemakers. It’s a lovely place to visit, taste wine, see excellent plays at the Shaw Festival, and have some really fine food. Time to Google!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow. That sounds like a lovely area to visit and enjoy.
          I hope you guys can start planning some more re-visits. I’m sure they miss seeing you.


    1. Can you believe I’ve never seen one of those movies?
      Now, if you went there you’d have to go to the Central part of the North island. Not the south or north part of the south island. 😳😉


  5. Life goals! I am currently a pinot grigio drinker, so I’m thinking NZ Sauvignon Blanc is in my immediate future. What’s your favorite budget buy? I get overwhelmed at the packie, and usually send my husband 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should try one; they’re not very expensive. Kim Crawford is always good as well as Matua, and Oyster Bay. I don’t usually spend more than 12.00 for a bottle, but you can find a lot around 10 bucks.


  6. I knew I liked you. You are talking my language here. I love NZ wine and would enjoy visiting the country. I can prefer sauvignon blanc while being persuaded to drink pinot noir! I’m not fussy while near vineyards. What a fun vacation– reminds me of the before times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the Before Times. You are so right, everything tastes great near a vineyard. I should have mentioned that the Pinot Noir grapes are also used for Rose’ which was just as delightful. But you probably already knew both the grape and delightful part. 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  7. nicoleboyhouse

    That looks lovely, Suz! I know what you mean, that you want to have it on your blog – my blog is like a diary, so I like to note down things that happened!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs are hands-down my favorite wines on the planet. In fact, I’m running to the liquor store on my lunch to pick up a few bottles. Cheers!

    Add the Lord of the Rings hobbit houses to my list of must-see NZ, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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