It’s that time of year again. With summer just around the corner, New Zealand is beginning to ‘green up’ once again and in the wine-growing region of Marlborough, the vines are starting to burst into life with colour and the early buds of the harvest yet to come.

We are lucky here in New Zealand to be home to some of the world’s finest wine-growing regions and Marlborough is arguably our most famous.  With over 20,000ha of vines (around 2/3 of the national total), it’s no surprise that Marlborough has become one of our most popular tourist destinations for Kiwis and international alike.

Marlborough wineries offer a huge range of varieties, from exquisite Pinot Noir to intense Chardonnay, and vivacious aromatics, and perhaps the most famous export of all – Sauvignon Blanc.

Visiting Marlborough

Marlborough is a wine-lovers destination; however, it offers so much more than an opportunity to sample some of New Zealand’s finest wines. Complimenting the huge range ad variety of wines available in the region, Marlborough is also home to some exquisite local food, especially seafood.

Within half an hour of touching down at Blenheim Airport, visitors to the region can be sipping wine at one of the many cellar doors or sampling some of the local cuisine cooked by award-winning chefs with views to die for.

Many visitors make Blenheim their first port of call after taking the Cook Strait ferry from Wellington in the North Island to Picton at the top of the South. Just a short 30-minute drive will take you to the heart of the wine-growing region or for something a bit different, try the new heritage steam train ride.

Visitors can join a wine tour, hire a bike, or even set out on foot in some areas, choosing from more than 30 cellar doors, tasting award-winning wines along the way, almost all within a ten-minute drive from each other. And that’s where we’re taking you – on a journey to discover five of Marlborough’s best wine tours and cellar door experiences. Let’s GO!

1.      Bubbly Grape Wine Tours


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Bubbly Grape is our favourite option and offers full-day, half-day, private, and cruise ship wine tours in and around the beautiful Wairau Valley in Marlborough, New Zealand, as well as a seven-day wine and adventure tour from Marlborough through to Queenstown.

Bubbly Grape not only specialise in Marlborough wine tours; they also offer premium reserve distiller and brewer tours as well as full-day art tours. Their distiller tour is perfect for those who love whisky, gin, tequila, rum, or vodka.

2.      Marlborough Wine Tours


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Marlborough Wine Tours is another good option.  Take the stress out of organising a tour of the vineyards and let the experts at Marlborough Wine Tours organise everything for you. They specialise in customising your visit to match your style and budget and their focus is on your having fun and discovering new wines.

They offer a wide range of wine tour options from half-day to full-day as well as some other fun options that include a cruise on the Queen Charlotte Sound.

3.      Wairau River Wines Cellar Door and Restaurant


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If you only have a limited amount of time to explore the Marlborough region, then a great option, if you are looking for a wine tasting and an opportunity to sample some of the amazing local cuisine, is the Wairau River Wines Cellar Door and Restaurant.

One of the oldest Cellar Doors in the Marlborough region, Wairau River Wines is family owned and operated from the winemaking right through to the restaurant and is set to the beautiful backdrop of the Wairau Valley. The Cellar Door is the perfect place to sample the latest Wairau River wines and learn more about Marlborough and its grape-growing history.

4.      Wine Tours by Bikes


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Whilst we would usually encourage you to explore New Zealand in one of our awesome rental cars whenever you can, a wine tour is one of the few occasions we would recommend leaving the car at home. Biking is a great way to explore the Marlborough wine region and Wine Tours by Bikes is the premium bike tour operator in the area.

Their tours are independent/self-guided biking tours which offer the complete freedom to set the pace and choose how you want to spend your time. From the start point in Renwick, you will have access to at least 14 cellar doors within 5-10 minutes biking so planning your route will be the hardest thing you have to think about!

5.      Hop ‘n Grape Wine and Beer Tours


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Another popular option when it comes to wine tours in Marlborough is Hop ‘n Grape – the only wine tour operator to have a winemaker as your tour guide. Their team of wine-trained specialists open doors to places you can’t go without a winemaker, like behind the scenes to taste wine straight out of the barrel.

Similar to most of the tour operators in Marlborough, there is a range of wine tours available including full and half-day, wine and cruise tours, and private wine tours. Hop ‘n Grape run tours out of both Picton and Blenheim. Let Hop ‘n Grape give you the VIP treatment and make the most of your time in Marlborough.

Bonus – Golden Bay Tours


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If you liked the sound of Bubbly Grape Tours, their sister company, Golden Bay Tours take you out of the Marlborough region and exploring Golden Bay which is located in neighbouring Tasman. Golden Bay Tours offer full-day tours in and around spectacular Golden Bay and include visits to premium reserve brewer and distiller, cocktail tasting, full-day art tours and more.


The Marlborough region is one of New Zealand’s most stunning areas to explore and there has never been a better time. GO local this summer and support our amazing wine producers and tour companies with a tour of the Marlborough vineyards – you won’t be disappointed.