On Saturday the 25th the NZ arm of the Rotary Wine Appreciation Fellowship had an outing to sample the Wairarapa wine experience.
There were 17 active enthusiasts on the trip which was superbly organized by Trish and Allan Brown.
We had participants from all over the region and even one hardy soul from Auckland.
The weather was bleak but it didn’t interrupt our fun. Because of the rail repairs we had to bus to Upper Hutt but then caught the train thru the Rimutakas to Featherston where we met our own private shuttle for the day.
We got off to a flying start with champagne, Bluff oysters, and canapes in the Martinborough square.  
Starting the day with Bubbles
We then headed to Colombo vineyard for a wine tasting.
Colombo is owned and operated by Baptiste from Switzerland and his Irish wife. It is a small operation but he makes a considerable variety of wines. All the grapes are hand-picked and the wine is lovingly made on the premises and aged in oak.
We tasted the sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and a pinot gris. The pinot gris was a later harvest grape. It was sweet on the palate and would make a great dessert wine.
Baptiste also makes pinot noir and a Syrah. The Syrah was interesting as it had a distinctive smoky nose.  Several bottles of wine were purchased by the team at discounted prices negotiated by Trish.
Then it was back to the square for 40 mins of shopping and coffee or a refreshing craft beer at The Brewery.
Lunch was at Poppies where we shared lovely platters and sampled their wines.  My favourite was the rose, a lovely and easy drinking drop.
It was then off to Escarpment.  This is a vineyard that doesn’t have a cellar door but Trish had organized a private tour and barrel tasting.  The winery is one of the few gravity fed wineries and tour was most informative in a fascinating area.
It was interesting to barrel taste 2 day old grape juice  and  1 year old barrel pinot noir.
Then it was back to the train  and sampling the cheese and crackers and wonderful homemade salty caramel and nut chocolate nougat log that Trish had provided for us to eat on the way home in case we were still hungry.
A fabulous experience and its amazing that no matter how many wineries you visit you always learn something new about wine.
Looking forward to the next outing.