Somewhere along the way I picked up a self-guided food tour brochure. It featured Makana chocolates, a boutique chocolate maker. Being a lover of chocolate, although I can go for a long time without eating any, I wanted to go to see some of their chocolates. They hand make many different varieties including fruit-filled, truffles, nut-filled as well as sugar free. They also make shortbreads and biscotti. We all bought some chocolates to take home. We were hoping we didn’t have to eat them all at once because we wanted to take them home to enjoy them.
Our next stop was the Vines Village, a village that has a cluster of shops such as a Quilter’s Barn, fudge shop, wine market as well as a fudge shop. I tried some olive oil as well but wasn’t interested in the quilter’s barn.
This winery is one I’d wanted to visit for a long time. It was the birthplace of one of my favourite types of wine, sauvignon blanc. It took us awhile to find the cellar door (called the Brancott Estate Heritage Centre). We saw signs on other roads but it turned out they were the other locations where they grow the different varietals of wine.
We eventually found the Heritage Centre and drove up the long driveway. When we came to the carpark we thought we had to walk up the hill to the Centre but a car came down and the driver told us he would drive us up to the entrance.
The Heritage Centre overlooks the original vineyard and from its vantage point you can see for kilometres over the valley and the town of Blenheim. There is a restaurant onsite as well as the cellar door. We were invited to watch a video on the history of Brancott Estate which was really interesting. After watching it we went and tried some of the wines before purchasing some. I still have some of it in my fridge now for a special occasion.
I would normally run a mile before I would be interested in an aviation museum but after seeing a story on a travel show about the centre I was looking forward to seeing it. They advertise that the centre houses a display like no other and they are right. It’s not your standard museum, it’s more theatrical and great to look at.
They have a display on the Red Baron, recreating the scene when he was shot down near Amiens in France. Another display shows a plane crashing and landing in a tree and the ensuing rescue mission. There are so many displays it took around two hours for us to see them all.