When we entered Picton, New Zealand, we brought the population up to 2930. It was our first stop in the South Island of New Zealand.
Blenheim, 17 miles south of Picton, is New Zealand’s top wine producing region, so we began our morning with wine tasting, of course. We started at Brancott Estate, a gorgeous vineyard lined with lavender and rose bushes. Their Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc were both exceptional. In 1990 their Sauvignon Blanc won the Marquis de Goulaine trophy as the World’s Best at the London International Wine Challenge.
While at Brancott, we met a local artist from Picton named Rebekah Codlin www.rebekahcodlinart.co.nz. Her oil paintings were haunting and deeply touching in the way they captured the human spirit. She was currently working on a commission work which featured four New Zealand brothers in their military uniforms.
We were lucky enough to get to visit Upton Oaks, the home of David and Sue Monahan, furniture makers and gardeners extradonaire. They began with their purchase of a small Victorian home circa 1911 and a garden with one walnut tree, and then they slowly turned the garden into separate rooms in the style of a formal, yet romantic, English estate.”The garden includes a large formal 17th century style knot garden divided into different colour sections, sunny perennial borders and pond, water garden in the pool area plus large raised vegetable beds and espaliered fruit trees on brick walls. A small olive grove opens into the new addition of the blue and white wedding garden with a French styled, iron gazebo as the central feature.”
They tend to the garden themselves, without help. Sue does the planning, planting and care of the gardens, while David maintains the lawns and hedges. They toured us around the grounds, and served us tea, homemade cookies, and banana cake. I was in heaven! www.uptonoaks.co.nz
We followed that up with a 3 course lunch and wine tasting at Herzog, one of New Zealand’s finest restaurants, before heading back to the Seabourn Odyssey to continue our journey around the South Island.