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A taste of New Zealand… in Devon

by on October 3, 2012

I could easily say that the days I spent in Marlborough, New Zealand, were amongst the best of my life. We enjoyed the kind of warm weather that soaks into your bones without making you sweat, with blue skies and blobs of meringue for clouds. We camped in comfort by a stream filled with ducks and their offspring and then afterwards, in a camp site right on the pebble beach of Cloudy Bay where the stars were so bright you nearly needed an eye mask to sleep.

And the wine… Well, the wine was marvellous. Everyone at the cellar doors were so friendly, so eager to share their knowledge and passion for the grapes hanging in rows outside. Match that with fantastic food and you’ve got what I think makes a perfect holiday.

But when I paid a visit to a vineyard near my home town in Devon, I wasn’t expecting the same feelings. It would be cold, right? The wine wouldn’t be much good, surely? And it couldn’t possibly be as picturesque as the vineyards down under, could it? Well, I was wrong.

It was a beautiful September day sparkling off the River Dart that wound its way along the base of the hillside vines. Visitors to the Sharpham Vineyard can select from a few packages that include a guided or self-guided walk, food options as well as the obligatory wine and cheese tasting. We walked ourselves around, following the signs and using the map to explore the grounds.

After a stroll that led us through the vines and along the river, with views of the boat house and grand house that are the basis of the estate, we settled down in the Café for our tasting. We nibbled on the chive and garlic cheese (like Boursin, only 100 times more delicious) and supped a variety of the different wines. My group loved the fruity rose, the dry white and the Rondo red.

So forget New Zealand – get out there and explore the wine makers on your doorstep! And it was a great place to celebrate a birthday – happy 30th, Laura!

Fantastic photos courtesy of Anna & Bob Trankle

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma December 5, 2012 at 10:15

Great, article, I enjoyed the read!

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Holly December 5, 2012 at 10:16

Thanks Emma – it was just one of those really lovely days!

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