Wine-loving Brazilians drop in

21:54, Apr 12 2011
In force: An exchange group from the Brazil's Florianopolis branch of the international group Friendship Force visited Brancott Estate (formerly Montana) last week with their Blenheim counterparts on a wine-themed trip

The Marlborough branch of Friendship Force last week welcomed nine Brazilian visitors for an eight-day wine-lovers' trip.

Marlborough branch founding member Doug Dean organised trips for members of the Florianopolis branch to many of the wineries around the region between April 4 and 11.

The group had to cancel a whale-watching excursion to Kaikoura because of bad weather and went to Nelson instead.

The Brazilians then left on a five-day South Island bus tour.

Friendship Force groups are set up all over the world, with members travelling to meet fellow group members, experience their lives and make friends.

Most clubs in New Zealand participate in at least one outward and two inbound travel exchanges a year, and Doug has been across the world since the Marlborough group was set up in 1987.


Florianopolis branch president Eduardo Withers de Almeida said last week's visit was a little different from usual Friendship Force trips as it was themed.

"We had two groups – a wine lovers group and the Friendship Force group, so we mixed them," he said.

In the middle of a particularly busy wine-tasting schedule, Doug added: "We have to slowly dry them out before they go. It's a hell of a job."

There are more than 363 Friendship Force clubs in 55 countries, including 24 clubs in New Zealand.

The Marlborough Express