Home and Garden
A flash of pink emerges from a woven egg chair as it swings high and wide from an old gum tree, its young occupant clearly delighted by the thrill.
Her parents are delighted too, to have their child so easily entertained, her pink fleece and flying blonde hair bright against the backdrop of wintered vines and iconic dusky blue Richmond Ranges.
Inside, they try Cloudy Bay wines wearing the same backdrop, the labels portraying the three layers of shadowed hills visible outside the wide glass doors.
Cellar door manager Tiffany Guillemot is also happy to see a pink flying fleece in a wide swinging egg chair, having created Cloudy Bay's “wine lounge” last summer to draw in locals and tourists alike, and to tempt them to linger at the cellar door for a rich experience, rather than a wine tasting race to knock off several cellar doors in a day.
“It gives our customers the opportunity to relax and children to play out in the courtyard. And it brings in the locals with their families. I think if people are going to make the effort to go to a cellar door, they need to enjoy it,” she says.
With its elegant outdoor furniture, a croquet lawn, and the peripheral eggs dangling from tall gums (a salute to the company's Ozzie founders), Cloudy Bay's cellar door is now happily sprawled outdoors, where guests can enjoy light seasonal lunches with superb wines.
“We have great wine, this is a beautiful place and we've got some lovely food. If you come in here and dash out you miss out on so much,” says events and wine communication manager Stephanie McIntyre. "If you sit down while the sun is out, and you lean back and have that glass of sauvignon blanc, and you eat some olives or whatever, you leave with this lasting memory.”
The inside of the cellar door was renovated and expanded in 2006, and now sports a thick concrete serving bench, an open fire, spanned by concrete hearth, and floor to ceiling windows facing through to the moody barrel hall, as well as out to the lawn, vines and ranges.
Tiffany's next task is to bring in furniture to create a warm, contemporary space to match the outdoor lounge.
Stephanie says few cellar doors make money, but if people leave with a bottle of wine and a rich memory, their job is done. “If we create a wonderful experience, they walk away with more than a quick tasting. And I think that's what cellar doors are realising."
The duo say convincing people to linger at the cellar door, so they visit perhaps just three in a day, is good for visitors, wineries and Marlborough at large, as tourists realise the region is best savoured, rather than rushed.
“Instead of 'Oh my gosh, I did seven wineries today', it's 'I did one or two, and I really enjoyed it'.”
This Saturday Cloudy Bay's lingering luxuries are reserved for guests to the annual Pinot at Cloudy Bay celebration. The cellar door will be open to the public again at 10am on Sunday.
Cloudy Bay is giving a reader the chance to linger in the outdoor wine lounge, with a voucher for a charcuterie platter and bottle of iconic Pelorus sparkling wine, to be enjoyed with a game of croquet, quiet moments in the egg chair, or just relaxing on the outdoor furniture.
If you're over 18 years old and want to go in the draw to win lunch at Cloudy Bay, clip this item from The Marlborough Express (Firday, September 7) and send it to Cloudy Bay competition, c/- PO Box 242, Blenheim 7240 by 5pm Thursday, September 13.
Remember to write your name, address and daytime phone number on the back of the envelope.
- The Marlborough Express