Sunday, April 26, 2015

St Leonard's Vineyard Cottages

When we arrived, Michele and Marcus had owned St Leonard's Vineyard Cottages for exactly seven days. How remarkable, then, that our visit was not only flawless but a sheer delight. M+M left Auckland after winding down careers, hers real estate, his sales. They bought this 1886 farm homestead just outside Blenheim (already functioning as a guest destination) set on five acres of gardens and paddocks with 100-year-old walnut, elm, and gum trees.

The cottages are all former farm buildings.

Feel free to pick the oranges, lemons, and walnuts, Michele said. Or feed lemons to the sheep.

Our Shearers Quarters were already stocked with fresh eggs from the resident hens, butter, and homemade jams plus lemon honey. And this edible still life. Grapefruit growing here also.

Figs over the neighbor's fence too.

View from kitchen window

Plenty of time for snoozing in the sun.

And walking the vineyards, this one just across the road, 250 acres of Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnary grapes (hi Lees!).

We ran into a very happy vineyard worker, who said "Blenheim is awash in wine money." He was checking each post to make sure it was secure, and told us they let sheep into the rows to do the mowing.

Speaking of sheep, I had a small run-in with this one (who lives at the St Leonard's cottages) while offering a lemon in my outstretched hands. She head-butted my hands to get the lemon to drop, as if to say This ain't no petting zoo.

Art was holding a lemon for our produce bin and the herd started to form up behind him. Time to slip out through the gate.

This morning, fresh eggs, tomato, and spinach before taking advantage of the bikes in the shed.

The photo below appears to be a scene from a peaceful ride to an organic vineyard, but it's actually the stressful denouement at the site across the road. Oh we tried to bike to the organic vineyard, but with cars speeding next to us at 65 mph I spent most of the trip on the narrow verge waiting for them to pass or hollering to Art that this was exactly why I didn't ride in Chicago.

Cruising unimpeded down a vineyard path was just what I had in mind.


  1. Vineyard worker photo is an instant classic! Bet that guy can put back a few glasses of wine, that's for sure...


  2. I am certain you have that right...