|We popped into Blenheim (pronounced 'Blen-um') for a few days of (small) city and wine. Seemed like we'd been in the wilderness for weeks, well, we had, so a town of 5000 was a big deal. Our story: Marsh and I had gone to a little, exceptionally scrumptious restaurant in Red Hook, NY close to 10 years ago and they recommended a new wine they'd just gotten in - a Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of NZ. We fell in love, with the wine too, and so one goal of the trip was going to this region and sampling some wines. We booked a wine tour so I wouldn't have to drive, took off in a van with some other folks (Auzzies, Brits, us) and did five wineries plus a fabulous lunch. Just a great day. Facts: the Marlborough region had one winery about 20 years ago (most of them were on the north island), now there are 58 wineries and over 300 grape growers in the same area. Boom time for a while but facing the same downturn now that the rest of the world is going through. They're trying to keep the quality up while talking about the Auzzies (think Yellowtail) who saturate the market with decent, cheap wines. Well, the wine was great, particularly the Sauvie, prices for great Sauvignon Blanc here are in the $7 to $10US range.