Vespas and Vines
Being on the Beatnik management team can be hard work and some days seems to be a blur of family, customers, marketing, product management blah blah blah...... Not complaining too loud, as I do love my job but, sometimes you need stop and smell the Sauvignon Blanc.
With this in mind on a quiet Wednesday, I hijacked my girl Rachel from whatever it was she was doing, slapped a NEXX helmet on her head, thrust a Beatnik Vespa into her hands and led the way out of town. Armed with cameras, smart phones, GoPro's and a general distaste for the mundane we invaded the vines for a day of petrol powered shenanigans.
First stop? Well luckily one of our excellent customers happened to be the visionary/artist that created the epic 'Under/Standing' at Brancott Estate. We were invited us to attend the unveiling which was......TODAY! Rachel and I buzzed our way down New Renwick Rd. Feeling free and chatting about the meaning of life over our intercoms.
As we rolled into Brancott, we were a vision of style straight off the streets of Europe. Italian Vespa's, English Burberry coats and Helmets from Portugal. In our own minds we are quite the fabulous spectacle but then we see the real star of the show. The spectacular 8m high work of art by Dror Benshetrit dominates the skyline with its clean straight lines and angles looking perfectly at home surrounded by the equally straight rows of vines.
Rachel and I mingle with the crowd which from what we can tell is a who's who list of the local movers and shakers. After a chat with Dror and enjoying tasty canapés and some outstanding wine tasted, we hit the road. Helmets on, GoPro recording and off we go!
Hearing rumors of an epic tasting platter over at Giesen Wines, Rachel and I were keen to check it out. Sun shining and wind in our faces, our two Vespa's buzz happily through the vineyards, past quaint farm houses and over one way bridges that are so common all over this great country.
Arriving at Giesen our fellow 'wine tourists' seem to be staring at us and nodding in approval as we park, no doubt transfixed by our abundance of natural beauty and class. Feeling pretty special as we walk away from our trusty steeds, we notice the tourists eyes do not follow us but stay locked on the little Italians we have left behind...hmmmm. A quick glance at Rachel as we exchange an unspoken 'claim it anyway' and its on with our mission to validate these platter rumors.
I must say they are not rumors my friends. Mussels, Smoked Fish, cheeses, pickles, chutney, bread and crackers, its simply DELICIOUS in every way. We decide it gets the Beatnik Approval and is a definitive 'must try' for anyone visiting the area. With our tanks full and compliments given to the staff, we wander out to the parking lot where even without the help of our blinding hotness, the Vespa's are still attracting attention. We field questions of 'Can you rent these?' and 'Where do we get them?' with positive responses and confirm other comments like 'That looks fun!' and 'How Cool!'. We give a quick wave to our new found admirers as I shout 'Follow us on instaaagrrrraaaaammmm....' as we roll off in to the distance.
'What next?' Rachel query's over the intercom. 'Photo Shoot?'. The response is positive however with both of us being keen to spend some more time riding, we take the long way and zig zag our way over to Brayshaw Heritage Park. Cameras out and the contrast of the glossy painted Vespa's with the low earthy tones of the old buildings and rusted farm equipment make for easy shooting. We do our best to channel our inner Giselle, posing and laughing picture after picture. With our cache full enough to keep our social media platforms fresh for at least a week, we gear up and head just up the road to our last stop of the day, Wither Hills.
As we buzz into wither hills I am immediately struck with the size and grandeur of the facility. On par with some of the amazing facilities we have been to in South Africa's Stellenbosch or Franschhoek, you cant help but feel like you are in for something special as you walk up the hill to the entrance. As we get comfortable and look at the tasting menu, the ambiance and the selection of wine all looks a little too inviting and may require some 'in-depth' research. Rachel never one to back down from a good 'research session' agrees so we pick up the phone and implement our rescue plan a.k.a. - Arranging for the Beatnik Pick Up Service to come and collect the Vespa's. This way Rachel and I can finish off our adventure taking our time and enjoying the Wither Hills Wine in its various and delicious configurations. With that all taken care of we slowly wind down our day as I imagine our customers do; Laughing and chatting about the days experiences over some great food and a glass(s) of Marlborough wine.
The Vespas definitely bring out another level of excitement, fun and diversity in Marlborough. With so much to see and do just a short ride away, you could literally do this 20 days in a row and not have the same experience twice. To that end and well into our 2nd glass of Sav Blanc, Rachel and I agree firstly that we were both supermodel rock stars in another life and that while our current surroundings were first class, every destination is special if arrive on two wheels with good friends.