The Wine Marlborough Cellar Door of the Year final was held at Brancott Estate Cellar Door and Restaurant last night where Bladen and Hunter’s Wines were announced joint winners of the title with Wairau River coming in third place. Alongside Bladen, Hunter’s Wines and Wairau River, the finalists included Hans Herzog and Johanneshof Cellars.

Bladen owner, Dave Macdonald also took out the title of the Wine Marlborough Cellar Door Personality of the Year alongside Brancott Estate Cellar Door and Restaurant host Kimberly Matthews. Both Dave and Kimberly received a mystery shop score of 100 percent.

“It was time to not only celebrate the top cellar doors, but also the individuals that make someone’s visit absolutely brilliant,” said Wine Marlborough marketing and communications coordinator, Harriet Wadworth. “We have such an amazing team of cellar door hosts in Marlborough which the very close scores represented. It’s great to know that when visitors come to our cellar doors, they are getting a world class experience,”

Finalists for the Cellar Door of the Year title were mystery shopped on criteria the hosts had set themselves along with Wine Marlborough and were put through their paces with a quick-fire buzzer round that included questions about the region, other cellar doors, wine tourism and general information visitors may ask for.

“We are so immensely proud to receive the 2017 Cellar Door of the Year award,” said Bladen owner Chris Macdonald. “It was very stiff competition! We would have to be one of the smallest cellar doors in the valley and I’m thrilled that we can still provide a service and experience that can match the larger wineries. Hopefully this means a very busy season for us!”