We share our pick of the best child-friendly wineries in Marlborough, New Zealand – one of the premium wine regions of the world.
If you’re looking for some child-friendly wineries, then Marlborough New Zealand is a great option and here we share some of the best Marlborough Wineries for families to visit.
About the Marlborough Wine Region
You don’t need to be a wine expert to know that Marlborough is one of the premium New Zealand wine regions, and is renowned throughout the world for its New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Known as the New World’s answer to the Loire Valley in France, 75% of New Zealand wine production comes from Marlborough, so you know you have come to the right place for wine tasting.
And if you are a Sauvignon Blanc fan like me, then you are really in luck, as Sauvignon Blanc accounts for 85% of all Marlborough’s wine output.
We have never let having kids stop us from visiting wineries, and we are always impressed with how family friendly most wineries are these days.
From toy boxes in the tasting rooms to outdoor games, kids menus in the restaurants or even just a spacious lawn to run around on, so many wineries these days ensure that there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
However, with more than 150 of the best wineries in New Zealand to choose from here, knowing where to start can be a challenge… so if wine tasting Marlborough is on your itinerary, here we narrow it down to five of the best wineries in Marlborough NZ for families.
Wairau River was our first stop in the Marlborough wine region.
We had just driven nearly two hours through torrential rain from Kaikoura, but as we arrived in the Marlborough region, the clouds cleared and bright sunshine welcomed us – they do say that Blenheim is one of the three sunniest places in New Zealand.
So we were delighted to be able to head out into the garden of this beautiful winery and take in the views across the surrounding Marlborough vineyards to the mountains.
Large picnic tables adorn the lawn of this laidback family-run winery, where you can tuck into a selection of dishes such as Duck Confit, Mussel Chowder, Double Baked Blue Cheese Souffle, or go casual with burgers and pizzas – all paired with fabulous wine of course!
There is plenty of grass for the kids to run around on, and also a petanque pit to keep them entertained.
It seems a bit of a cliché to visit Cloudy Bay wine when you’re in Marlborough. But on the other hand, you can’t come to Marlborough and NOT visit Cloudy Bay, right?
And it just so happens to be one of the most child-friendly wineries we visited.
Arguably Marlborough’s most famous wine label, Cloudy Bay New Zealand has helped forge Marlborough’s stellar reputation for its Sauvignon Blanc throughout the world, and Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc graces the wine lists of restaurants in over 30 countries today.
If you visit on a sunny day, you are in for a treat. There is plenty of lounge seating on the decking, which overlooks a vast lawn with swinging egg chairs and shady trees, all overlooking the Cloudy Bay vineyards beyond.
They also have croquet, petanque and various bats and balls for the kids to play with. The menu is a simple selection of nibbles and ‘raw’ plates such as freshly shucked oysters, cheeses, salads and snacks – and of course ice-cream for the kids.
My only issue with Cloudy Bay is that it was the only New Zealand vineyard we visited that charges for tastings. Considering this is one of the most successful wineries in New Zealand, you would think that parent company LVMH could stump up a few bottles of their famous New Zealand wine for tastings every day.
But I guess you can do what you want when your reputation ensures that people will flock through your doors no matter what.
Owned by Doctors John and Brigid Forrest, Forrest is a charming little Marlborough winery, set within a beautiful park setting. The landscaped gardens include willow trees and a duck pond, with picnic benches and beanbags for relaxing on.
The staff are super friendly as they guide you through the three labels – Forrest, Doctor’s and their Otago label Tatty Bogler, named after a Scottish scarecrow, paying homage to the Scottish settlers of the Otago region.
A selection of picnic nibbles are on offer, including cheeses, antipasto and smoked mussels – and even better – there’s a toy box in the tasting room.
Wither Hills was one of the best vineyards in New Zealand for visiting with kids.
Nobody batted an eyelid when my two kids emptied the toy box in the middle of the tasting room, and staff went out of their way to find a table for us, even though we had made no reservation, it was a public holiday and they were also catering for a wedding.
The setting is fabulous (no wonder they are popular with weddings), with sweeping views over the vineyards, and a lovely grassy courtyard filled with beanbags and umbrella shading.
The menu is filled with fresh, seasonal, local produce such as Wakanui Ribeye, Waitoa Free Range Chicken, Cloudy Bay Clams and fresh market fish.
Plus, theirs was the best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I tried in the Marlborough region for less than $25.00 a bottle. Definitely a winner.
Probably the best of the Marlborough winery restaurants we tried was at Hans Herzog. I am trying to forget the fact that my toddler had a one-hour-long teething-inspired tantrum and we had to take it in turns to sit in the carpark with him so as not to spoil the tranquility of the restaurant.
The Cellar Door Bistro at this organic winery is in such a beautiful garden setting, bursting with roses, lavender and wisteria, that you feel you have been transported to the South of France – where of course toddlers don’t throw tantrums.
Treat yourself to a Chateaubriand or a Duo of Canterbury Lamb, while the kids tuck into fish and chips or explore the nooks and crannies of the landscaped gardens.
Wash it all down with some of New Zealand’s most highly acclaimed Marlborough New Zealand wine – Hans Herzog boasts an impressive collection of over 29 different grape varieties. My husband still raves about their Montepulciano (even though he can’t pronounce it!)
Marlborough Wineries Map
Try out all these fantastic wineries in the Marlborough region NZ for yourself. We’ve shown you where they are on the Marlborough wine region map below.
Marlborough Accommodation NZ
We stayed at the Vintners Retreat during our family trip to Marlborough, and it was perfect for families. This Marlborough vineyard accommodation is just a 15-minute drive from Blenheim and is well-located for exploring all the nearby Marlborough wineries.
Choose from a range of 2-bedroom villas all with private patios with BBQs, spacious living areas and fully fitted kitchens. There is also a 3-bedroom villa.
Within the 4-acre grounds you will find a heated swimming pool, tennis court, boules, croquet and a trampoline to keep the kids entertained. They also have bikes for hire.
Love wine tasting? Check out our article Child-friendly Wine Tasting in the Margaret River.
Heading to New Zealand’s South Island? Check out our favourite Things to Do in Queenstown with a Toddler.
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