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I have a disclaimer to make: I was not a blogger while in New Zealand, so I didn’t take notes or snap as many photos as I might have otherwise (though 1300+ pics/vids isn’t too shabby, eh?).

As promised in my last post, I was going to talk about wine next, but then realized I couldn’t remember the names of the wineries I went to!  Luckily, I could figure out two from my photos, and am pretty sure the other two are correct: Ngatarawa, Alpha Domus, Sileni Estates, and Moana Park

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One of the things that struck me while on the road in New Zealand was the sheer number of vineyards I saw!  I knew that it was an important contributor to the wine world, but my knowledge in that department is pretty minimal to say the least.  In fact, this was my first wine tour, and before taking it, I wasn’t even sure which type of wine was my favorite! 

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The Grape Escape was a good tour to take, even for n00bs like me because each person at the four wineries was very informative.  Of course I’ve forgotten much of what I learned, which might be partly due to the fact that we were offered several samples at each winery.  Now I know that the wine connoisseurs use the spittoons, but like I said, I’m no wine snob. ;)

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We started with whites, then progressed to reds, and ended with dessert wines at each place.  Which was my favorite?  Sauvignon Blanc, hands down!  If you look at a wine menu at least here in the states, you’ll likely find at least one wine from New Zealand, and chances are it’ll be a Sauv Blanc from the Marlborough region (north part of the South Island).  This tour was in Hawke’s Bay though (east coast of the North Island) which produces the most red wine in the country.

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Wine chemistry lab!

Something neat about NZ wine: the bottles are always sealed with a screw cap  instead of a cork.  I think the reason they gave for this is that it cuts out the risk of the cork mucking up the flavor, keeping the wine truer to the day it was bottled.  I know I like it because it’s easier to open and save for later!

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Interestingly, I encountered the most Americans in one place on this tour.  There were six of us out of the eight people!  (I’m not sure what that says…)  One was Elaine (left) from California who was actually studying viticulture in school.  The other friend I was with was Lisa (right) from Ireland who was taking a year-long trip around the world.  Lucky!

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Anyway, it was a fun day that resulted in a bit of a headache, but I’m happy that I learned a little bit more about wine and am especially pleased that I now know what I like!

Just because Blog4NZ is over (it’s the 24th there) doesn’t mean we can’t keep blogging about NZ, hence this post!  Here are the rest of my posts:

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