Allan Scott is one of the true pioneers and a name synonymous with New Zealand’s acclaimed Marlborough region. Located on Jackson’s Road, Marlborough surrounded by 80 hectares of premium vineyards, Allan along with wife Catherine founded the Allan Scott Family Winemakers label in 1990 quickly becoming a household brand name in the highly competitive wine industry. Today the entire family are involved heading up the production and marketing management of the company with a highly skilled operational team.
ONE PLACE. PURE MARLBOROUGH.
Wines that reflect the purity from the place they come from.
Ara defines our philosophy. It is Māori for pathway and captures our journey and connection with our Marlborough home. Sitting on the edge of the world Marlborough’s extreme climate can present challenges. However, our winemaking and viticulture teams embrace challenge –and use it to create intensely flavoured wines that illustrate our ‘Ara’ or path on the edge of the world.
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Ata Rangi Vineyard
ATA RANGI VINEYARD
Bell Hill Vineyard
BELL HILL VINEYARD
Big Sky Wines
We started Big Sky Wines in 2005. We had returned to New Zealand from living in France, and we knew the time was right to pursue our long-held ambition – to make world class, hand crafted wines, that give true expression to the character of their place. We were drawn to the Te Muna valley. It’s a very special place, ideal for growing Pinot Noir — we think one of the best in the world. We look forward to showing you our wines soon…
BIG SKY WINES
Brancott Estate is the pioneer of the Marlborough winegrowing region, planting the first Sauvignon Blanc vines on Brancott Vineyard and creating the first Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, now one of the world’s favourite wine styles. As well as exploring new expressions of Sauvignon Blanc, we also pioneered Marlborough Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Gris. Brancott Estate wines are crafted by determined, passionate winemakers, supported by talented viticulturists who nurture and sustain our precious vineyards.
Burn Cottage Vineyard
Burn Cottage Vineyard is a unique 11 hectare vineyard and wider farm in Central Otago.
Predominantly planted in Pinot Noir and incorporating the diversity of 10 clones; there is also a tiny planting each of Riesling and Gruner Veltliner. The vineyard and it surrounds have been farmed from inception using biodynamic me thods. Burn Cottage winemaking is also a very natural process, with the aim of producing the finest wine – the truest reflection of the vineyard and its complexities.
BURN COTTAGE VINEYARD
Churton was established in 1997 by Sam and Mandy Weaver.From site selection and bio-dynamic practices through tolow intervention winemaking, Churton produces exceptional terroir driven wines.
Churton is a 22 hectare single vineyard and encompasses an undulating ridge line between the Omaka and Waihopai valleys in Marlborough, New Zealand.Dedicated to producing just four varietals (sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, viognier and petit manseng), the Churton vineyard in composed of 18 singular blocks each with its own unique aspect and topography.
Clos Henri Vineyard
CLOS HENRI VINEYARD
Cloudy Bay (Te Wahi)
In 1985, Cloudy Bay captivated the wine world with its fresh, aromatic and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc. The estate continues its drive for excellence in the Marlborough region and, since 2010, in Central Otago with powerful Pinot Noirs. Innovation, meticulous attention to detail and regional expression are the guiding principles of Cloudy Bay. The Cloudy Bay team is committed to producing ‘wines of region’ and strives to enhance the pure flavours and stunning vibrancy, naturally afforded by both sites.
CLOUDY BAY (TE WAHI)
work together to ensure that only the highest quality product makes it to your mouth!
And so the old-fashioned notion that small is beautiful, that honest sweat produces happiness turns out to be our guiding principle.
Kim Crawford (Constellation Brands)
Our Small Parcels wines are micro-cuvées representing the very best of what New Zealand’s pristine, cool-climate vineyards can produce. They often reflect a specific site, expressing a unique terroir in a special way.
Each wine is a rare, handcrafted, world-class gem for enthusiasts and collectors.
The Kim Crawford Small Parcels Rise and Shine Pinot Noir is named after Rise and Shine Creek, which runs through the heart of Central Otago’s once famous gold mining area.
KIM CRAWFORD (CONSTELLATION BRANDS)
Corofin is the artisan winemaking project of Mike and Anna Paterson, which evolved to tell the story of some pretty special Marlborough Pinot sites. It has become a collaboration with farmers whose vineyards have and will produce fruit that acts as a beacon of individual terroir. The hope with all Corofin wines is to transmit a sense of place and season first, over fruit intensity or winemaking ambition.
Craggy Range is a family owned winery established in 1997 situated in the shadow of the spectacular Te Mata Peak in the premium wine growing area of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Based on the single vineyard philosophy of winemaking, Craggy Range produces a portfolio of quality wines including the iconic Prestige and Family collections, as well as Limited Editions all reflecting the place and the people.
Crown Range Cellar is not your typical wine company. We don’t just make wine, we take the best New Zealand has to offer and create something quite special with it. We deal in exceptional produce, working with exceptional artisans and the best makers of wine. We combine to create a company that celebrates everything premium New Zealand has to offer.
Our hard work was rewarded when our Signature Selection Grant Taylor Pinot Noir 2013 received the IWSC Trophy for best Pinot in 2015
Dog Point Vineyards
DOG POINT VINEYARDS
Domain Road Vineyard
DOMAIN ROAD VINEYARD
The cockerel and kiwi in Domaine-Thomson’s symbol represent the two countries from which we produce wine.
The theodolite symbolises Central Otago – an important place in our brand from the beginning. The theodolite was used by David’s great-great-grandfather during his surveying expeditions in the south.
The scallop comes from the fireplace of the home of owners, PM Chan and David Hall Jones, on one of the routes of El Camino de Santiago. The scallop has long been popular with pilgrims to the shrine of the apostle St James in Santiago de Compostela.
Dry River vineyard was established in 1979 by Dr Neil and Dawn McCallum.
With vines planted on the northern boundary of the Martinborough township, Dry River aptly describes the very arid, gravely and free-draining site. They produce wines of optimal phenolic ripeness that truly reflect the site and vineyard. With Wilco Lam as Chief winemaker since 2013, Dry River continues to build on its reputation as one of New Zealand’s most iconic pioneering wineries.
Esk Valley Estate
ESK VALLEY ESTATE
Gibbston Valley Winery
GIBBSTON VALLEY WINERY
Hans Herzog Estate
HANS HERZOG ESTATE
As modern pioneers, Jackson Estate has been in the business for over 25 years, quietly getting on with hand crafting premium wines with elegance, finesse and longevity.
With total respect for our land and focussing on low cropping levels, small batch fermentation, single vineyard fruits and minimal winemaking intervention, we strive to achieve incremental improvements year on year, in a sustainably responsible way.
We remain 100 percent kiwi-owned and are staying put on our perfectly balanced soils, growing our beautifully mature vines in this incredible Marlborough climate.
Jules Taylor Wines
You can’t have a wine label named Jules Taylor without having a Jules Taylor. Jules is the eponymous winemaker, the dreamer, the motivator and godmother to several hundred thousand little grapes. Born and bred Marlburian, Jules has seen the transformation that the wine industry brought to the region and with this life long association she brings to her winemaking an intimate understanding of the interplay between the grape and Marlborough’s variety of climates and soils.
JULES TAYLOR WINES
Kono Beverages - Aronui Wines
KONO BEVERAGES - ARONUI WINES
Kono Beverages - Tohu Wines
KONO BEVERAGES - TOHU WINES
Respect, patience and adaptability……Each is an integral part of the Kumeu River success story, not only in the making of a good wine, but also in the making of a thriving family business run since 1944. Kumeu River has gained international awards and accolades and have been considered world class by a number of international wine commentators. The premium quality wines are a result of time, tradition, and a genuine love of the wine trade.
Lawson's Dry Hills
Hills, who from a humble, yet pioneering start over 20 years ago, create today’s a range of world-class wines.
We live and breathe every part of the process with our hands-on, sustainable approach, from nurturing the grapes in our vineyards through to every aspect of the winemaking process.
We talk, we taste and we talk some more, pouring our shared inspiration into every bottle. And with the global awards we receive every year, this collaborative and inquiring approach seems to make quite a difference.
LAWSON'S DRY HILLS
Left Field - Te Awa Collection
Our whimsical approach to exploration, creativity and imagination is embodied in Left Field Wines. It is the birthplace of the unexpected, the weird and wonderful. Winemaker: Richard Painter
LEFT FIELD - TE AWA COLLECTION
Lime Rock Wines
Established in 2001 at 270m above sea level on limestone slopes in Central Hawkes Bay, Lime Rock is producing some stunning Pinot Noir vintages on this unique site. The vineyard is managed to protect ecological processes (vit-ecology) and follows a philosophy of minimal disturbance to the soil, so no cultivation (ploughing). The wines have been described as having a burgundy character, with good structure and texture and great length on the palate.
LIME ROCK WINES
Loveblock Vintners Ltd
Loveblock was forged from a love affair with a view. Perched right on top of the hills overlooking Marlborough’s Awatere Valley, it is far removed from the agricultural bustle in the valley below. From here you can almost see the end of the planet, the peace lifts you above your troubles. Together, the unique terroir and integrated farming practice speak with a naked voice of place and time through wine. Grown and made with love and care.
LOVEBLOCK VINTNERS LTD
Established in 1974 by innovative Kiwi brothers Ross & Bill Spence, Matua is a pioneer of the New Zealand wine industry. As first producer of NZ Sauvignon Blanc, Matua helped put NZ on the global stage. Now, Matua has a reputation for crafting exceptional Pinot Noir. With Chief Winemaker Nikolai St George, Matua has won Champion Winemaker of the Year three years running*.(*Royal Easter Wine Show 2013 & 2015, New Zealand International Wine Show 2014)
Maude is a family owned wine company created by husband and wife winemaking team, Dan & Sarah-Kate Dineen, producing Maude and Mt Maude wines from their winery in beautiful Wanaka, Central Otago.
The Mt Maude wines are all single vineyard expressions from our flagship 23 year old Wanaka family estate which lies on the steep north-facing slopes of the picturesque Maungawera Valley, looking up at the mountain from which it takes its name.
The majestic mountains and lakes of the Southern Alps are home to Mount Edward. Our winery, situated in Gibbston, just east of Queenstown, has its vineyards amongst the foothills of the Pisa Range and on the banks of the Kawerau river in Bannockburn. Mount Edward, part of the Central Otago wine community since 1998, is BioGro certified organic with this philosophy at its heart. Owned and managed by the Buchanan and Forsyth families since 2004, our winemakers Anna Riederer and Duncan Forsyth craft wines that are textural, restrained, and speak of our place here in Central Otago.
Mt. Beautiful wines are the expression of the wild, rugged and breathtakingly scenic region of North Canterbury. Certified-sustainable and estate-grown, these distinctively restrained wines let the pure terroir shine through. World-renowned scholar/entrepreneur and New Zealand native David Teece, together with his wife Leigh, spent two years searching for just this spot, where they could pioneer an undiscovered region and fulfil their dream of bringing the best of New Zealand to the world.
Mt Difficulty Wines
Established in 1992, Mt Difficulty owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago, New Zealand. This unique area of extremes is ideally suited to crafting wines that speak with a sense of place. Our philosophy combines ethical viticulture with minimal intervention allowing the wine to express its personality and reflect its home.
MT DIFFICULTY WINES
Murdoch James Estate
MURDOCH JAMES ESTATE
Nanny Goat Vineyard
NANNY GOAT VINEYARD
Nevis Bluff Wines
NEVIS BLUFF WINES
Ostler Vineyards Limited
Ostler Vineyards Ltd is a pioneer in New Zealand’s newest and smallest wine region – Waitaki Valley, North Otago.
They are becoming known internationally, with awards in Hong Kong, Shanghai and the UK. These include 2010, 20 11, 2013 consecutive trophy awards in London at the International Wine Challenge for Caroline’s Pinot Noir. As the best known wine from the Waitaki Valley, they consistently demonstrate a different style to those from Central Otago neighbours. Less fruity, more complex and savoury, good acidity and balance.
OSTLER VINEYARDS LIMITED
Palliser Estate Wines
Palliser Estate in Martinborough is a boutique vineyard with an international outlook. For over two decades our people have been looking after our corner of New Zealand, producing quality wine for the world to enjoy. Palliser Estate is a leading winery in the ultra premium grape-growing region of Martinborough. The Palliser Estate and Pencarrow labels are consistently great wines – a fact to be celebrated. We manage the whole winemaking process here on the estate, to produce wine that continues to taste great.
PALLISER ESTATE WINES
Pegasus Bay is owned and operated by the Donaldson’s, Pioneers of the Canterbury wine industry. Ivan and Christine established the vineyard in 1985, and today Ivan oversees viticulture, Christine curates the breathtaking gardens, Eldest son Matthew is winemaker, Edward is marketing manager while his wife Belinda managers the winery restaurant, and youngest son Paul is GM. 12 different clones of Pinot Noir represent a third of the plantings with most now 30 years of age.
The essence of Poppies Martinborough is simply making wines that show the character and evoke the varietal flavour and purity of expression from the land and the hands of the maker, a simple philosophy of creating wines in what we believe to be their truest form. There are no consumer fads or current trends followed just the honest believe that the individual wines are made to reflect us, express the variety and what Mother Nature has created; I guess their Terroir.
Prophet's Rock Wines
The name ‘Prophet’s Rock’ is taken from a local landmark at the claim of pioneering goldminer Bob Prophet. It is a name that reflects our new world setting; perched on the edge in the southernmost wine growing region on earth.
Our Two vineyards were established in 1999: Bendigo and, subsequently, Rocky Point. Both are steep and elevated: Bendigo with its rare mix of soils and Rocky Point with its stony ground and almost treacherous slopes.
PROPHET'S ROCK WINES
Pyramid Valley Vineyards
PYRAMID VALLEY VINEYARDS
Rippon is a singular piece of land on the shores of Lake Wanaka, Central Otago. The Mills family has been farming Rippon for over 100 years and growing wine since 1982 and the focus for all who live and work here is to do justice to this remarkable piece of land and keep it alive for the generations to come.
Rock Ferry Wines
ROCK FERRY WINES
Saint Clair Family Estate
SAINT CLAIR FAMILY ESTATE
Spy Valley Wines
New Zealand, family owned winery ‘Spy Valley’ has derived its name from the presence of a satellite communications monitoring station in Marlborough’s Waihopai Valley – a spy base. Nine varieties of grapes are grown over 400 acres to produce premium fruit for Spy Valley Wines. Unlike the world of espionage, Spy Valley’s wine has demanded global attention, the wine has been called “impossible to ignore” and the company “among the planet’s 20 most notable new producers.”
SPY VALLEY WINES
Staete Landt Wine Company Limited
STAETE LANDT WINE COMPANY LIMITED
Tarras Vineyards is near the township of Tarras. The home vineyard, called The Canyon, is high up on the former goldfields of Bendigo.
Established by Hayden Johnston in 2002, this organically managed vineyard consistently delivers outstanding expressions of great pinot noir with floral aromas, intense fruit, savory notes, good acidity and impressive tannins. They are distinctive, icon wines that age.
In exceptional vintages, limited, single vineyard wines are sold as Tarras The Canyon Pinot Noir.
Te Kairanga Wines
TE KAIRANGA WINES
Te Whare Ra Wines
TE WHARE RA WINES
The Crater Rim
THE CRATER RIM
The Elder Pinot
THE ELDER PINOT
Thornbury was established in 1997 with the intention of creating quality New Zealand wines to inspire wine lovers around the world – wines that celebrate life and give pleasure. Thornbury wines are produced from five of New Zealand’s most premier wine-growing regions. Our aim is to craft perfect expressions of each of our chosen varieties. We’ve searched the most prestigious districts of the country and successfully identified sites that enable us to create a selection of fine varietal wines.
Tongue in Groove Wines
This label brings the knowledge of six friends into a beautiful collision with the best vineyards in one of the most exciting wine regions. Our Pinot Noir vineyard ‘Cabal’ is a clay and limestone vineyard on the north facing slopes of the Omihi Hills. We practice low intervention wine-making – natural yeasts, minimal handling, no additions, filtering or fining, light filtration for clarity and stability. Our headquarters is the organic, permaculture property called The Food Farm in the heart of the Waipara Valley.
TONGUE IN GROOVE WINES
Diminutive but distinctive foot prints of excellence throughout our great Pinot Noir region.
Two Paddocks was established in 1993 by actor, Sam Neill, with just two hectares of pinot noir – The First Paddock. Two Paddocks now encompasses four small vineyards in the major sub-regions of Central Otago – Gibbston, Bannockburn and Alexandra. Grapes are organically grown by a full time Two Paddocks Vineyard Crew. Red Bank Farm & Vineyard is the Two Paddocks polycultural Mothership – home to pigs, cattle, sheep, lavender and saffron.
Two Rivers of Marlborough
Established in 2004, Two Rivers of Marlborough takes its name from the iconic rivers that feed Marlborough’s Wairau and Awatere Valleys.
Winemaker, David Clouston, selects the finest parcels of fruit from the banks of the Wairau and the Awatere rivers to craft his wines to express the different microclimates unique to these two rivers.
The aim at Two Rivers is to capture and emphasise Marlborough’s intense power, while producing complex, elegant wines with a slight European flair.
TWO RIVERS OF MARLBOROUGH
“When you drink a Valli Wine, you are enjoying more than just a wine: you are experiencing a place.” – Grant Taylor, Winegrower Valli is the personal vocation of pioneering Otago winemaker, Grant Taylor, whose name is synonymous with Otago Pinot Noir. Established in 1998 and based around the estate vineyard in Gibbston, Valli creates premium Pinot Noirs and Rieslings from different Otago subregions that reflect the vineyards from which they come.
In 1888 Anthony Joseph Vidal arrived in New Zealand as one of the first winemakers to appreciate the natural potential of Hawkes Bay. He established Vidal Estate in 1905 and his commitment to crafting classic, elegant wines remains an inspiration to this day.
Today’s Vidal Estate winemaker, Hugh Crichton has two key philosophies; minimal intervention allowing transparency of vineyard and vintage to bottle and the pursuit of “food friendly” wines exhibiting balance, concentration and elegance.
Villa Maria Estate
VILLA MARIA ESTATE
At Waipara Hills our winemaking philosophy is simple. It’s about creating perfect balance, encouraging the characteristics of each season’s fruit to shine, whilst celebrating South Island vineyards. The result is wine that is rich, textural and bursting with complex flavour.
From the vineyards to the winery, our team are hands on in perfecting their craft, pouring a little of themselves into everything they do. Discover the Soul of the South with Waipara Hills.
Waitiri Creek Wines Ltd
‘Opulent’, ‘stylish’, ‘distinctive’, ‘bold’, ‘hedonistic’, ‘elegant’, ‘wine to fall in love with’ – just some of the descriptions applied to Waitiri Creek Pinot Noir in recent years..
Established in 1993, we produce single vineyard Pinot Noir from Gibbston, Central Otago which displays sophisticated flavour profiles, balance, suppleness and finesse. Sustainable principles are applied in the vineyards and winemaking.
WAITIRI CREEK WINES LTD
Wither Hills Vineyards
Named after the southern landmark range of Wither Hills that border our vineyards, our focused, hands-on approach to winegrowing allows us to make a range of wines that reflect our passion for the ‘place where we stand’.
WITHER HILLS VINEYARDS
Yealands Family Wines
By 08.08.08, through a bold vision and a capacity for sheer hard work that few could comprehend, Peter Yealands was standing alongside his world-leading carboNZero CertTM Yealands Estate winery with his sights firmly set upon becoming the world’s most sustainable wine producer. Combining the very latest cutting-edge green technology and highly innovative thinking, the Yealands name has quickly became synonymous with a passion for crafting ultra-premium wines in the most environmentally-friendly manner.
YEALANDS FAMILY WINES
Warm, primarily frost-free conditions, high rainfall and clay soils boosted by volcanic, greywacke and mixed alluvial origin meant that Auckland was once the engine room of New Zealand’s entire wine industry. The Henderson, Kumeu and Huapai sub regions to the northwest of Auckland’s city centre, are home to many of the eastern European and North African aristocrats who pioneered our modern wine scene. However urban sprawl has meant Auckland’s vineyard area now only accounts for around 500 hectares just over 1.5% of the National planting. You’re more likely to find the Auckland/Northland/Waiheke Island region dominated by big, bold chardonnay, pinot gris, syrah and Bordeaux red varieties, however Pinot Noir has a small foothold in some of the more premium cooler sites. And that’s what pinot likes – which is why the variety has spread quietly inland and south towards Clevedon, Aucklands most recent premium wine district.
More famous for Buffalo farming, oyster farming and of course, sheep and cow farming; Clevedon has recently established small pockets of Pinot Noir vines in its green pastures just 30 minutes south of the city.
So what can you expect from Auckland pinot noir? Food-friendly, softly-fruited, softly-spiced expressions that are packed with personality.
Hawke’s Bay is NZ’s oldest wine region and second largest. There are over 90 wineries and 150 grape growers within the region, which produces a huge chunk of the national vintage. Hawkes Bay is blessed with breathtakingly beautiful rivers, which for centuries have carved their way across the landscape and left in their wake the perfect mix of soils for growing grapes. Many of the regions wineries are inextricably linked to guiding forces of these rivers, from the Esk River in the north, to the trout-filled and titillating-named Tutaekuri (look it up on Google translate) and the mighty Ngaruroro which both cut through the regions central plains. Then of course there’s the stunning Tukituki river which flows from it’s upper reaches in Central Hawke’s Bay and along the base of the majestic Te Mata Peak range before meeting the ocean at Haumoana. There’s even the fast-flowing Paritua stream, which nourishes the vines along the western boundary of the Bridge Pa Triangle. Wine producers can now choose from a smorgasbord of soil types including the limestone loop of Central Hawke’s Bay to the ancient red metal soils and river terrace boulders of Maraekakaho and the sandy, free-draining loams of the coast and valleys.
Much of Hawke’s Bay’s Pinot Noir is grown for sparkling wine, but trophy winning, traditional examples have been crafted from inland cooler sites such as Crownthorpe, Matapiro, Tikokino and as far south as Porongahau. Expect soft, cherry and tea flavours, a mineral element and ultra-approachable textures.
The Wairarapa wine region nestled in the rain shadow of the Tararua and Rimutaka ranges and its sub-regions (Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton) are linked by the Ruamahunga River. The region’s Maori name actually means ‘glistening waters’, and from its Tararua source, this river flows southwards, attracting waters from contributory streams as it flows to Palliser Bay. In addition to sharing picturesque, rural towns like Greytown and Carterton, these sub-regions also share ancient alluvial river terraces which, when combined with scorching summers and long, dry
autumns, provide a recipe for winegrowing glory. These conditions reminded Marie Zelie, (the French wife of early settler William Beetham) of her native Burgundy, so she planted 3000 vines in the late 1880’s and produced the region’s first pinot near Masterton in 1887. Sadly prohibition put paid to the vines, however 100 years later, two soil scientists and two locals discovered the Martinborough region had almost identical terroir characteristics to Burgundy and planted vines in 1980. They became the ‘founding four’ and over the coming decade, grapes spread north to Gladstone and back into Masterton – completing a century of history.
Just a lazy hour and a half’s drive north from Wellington, the Wairarapa is home to some of the most prestigious wineries in New Zealand.
Nelson has the highest annual sunshine hours in New Zealand, making it an absolute El Dorado when it comes to growing fruits of every description. Once upon a time it was all about orchards, but today it’s hops and grapes, art and science that has wine-tourist taste buds in a tizz. Despite being divided into two distinct sub-regions; the flat, free-draining sandy loams of the Waimea Plains and the clay loams and subsoils of the Moutere Hills, Nelson is a united front when it comes to producing some of New Zealand’s top pinot noir. The sunshine capital of the country is a relative newcomer to pinot production, but it’s already establishing an impressive pedigree, having had pinot noir in the ground since 1975 at Seifried Vineyard. Mountains keep
the area warm and protected from the predominant weather cycles to the west, south and east; and with the cooling effect of the Tasman sea – Goldilocks would love it here. It’s not too hot or too cold – in fact it’s just right.
These conditions give Nelson examples an exceptionally fine minerality; they get a really pure expression of pinot noir here, and if you’re after organic, biodynamically produced pinot – then here’s the place to get it. Unlike its neighbour Marlborough, which boasts a number of large cellar doors owned by corporate entities, all of Nelson’s wineries are family owned. While they’re mostly small, the words ‘perfectly formed’ often appear in reviews – wrap your tastebuds around a selection of their pinots and you’ll understand why.
As vine age, production and availability have increased, Nelson has begun to take its place as one of the quality Pinot Noir producing regions of the world.
Loads of things happened in 1973. They opened the Sydney Opera House, Princess Anne married Mark Phillips, Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon and the team at Montana Wines planted pinot noir on the outskirts of Blenheim alongside some new-fangled sauvignon blanc. While it got off to a shaky start, pinot plantings here in New Zealand’s largest wine region soon ventured forth from the stony, free-draining river terraces and up into the clay-based, north facing slopes of the surrounding hills. New clonal material began soaking its way across the countryside and it didn’t take long for wine producers to be wowed by this beguiling Burgundian. But why is this part of New Zealand so conducive to churning our complex, concentrated pinot noir? Simple really. Marlborough has a more regular, extended growing season than either Martinborough or Central Otago. It boasts warm days, cool nights and it’s not battered so much by the southerly winds that can disrupt flowering for growers in Martinborough, it’s also not as susceptible to the vicious frosts which can ravage the more southerly Central Otago.
So while the world was being slapped in the face with the regions stunning sauvignon blanc, pinot noir was quietly bubbling away in the background. Producers here knew they had something special, but it took time to perfect, they kept it almost secret. But by the mid 1990’s Marlborough’s winemakers were well and truly getting their heads around its potential and the gold medals began pouring in. With plantings now spanning the Wairau, Waihopai, Omaka, Brancott and Awatere Valleys, Marlborough is home to some pinot perfectionists, making it a force to be reckoned with.
An easy 40-minute drive north of Christchurch will land you on the doorstep of one of the most exciting wine regions in NZ. Farm country and pine plantations open up just a couple of kilometres north of the town of Amberley to reveal a breathtakingly beautiful valley, carpeted on both sides of the highway with vines as far as the eye can travel. The Waipara Valley is surrounded by the ancient, mineral-rich limestone clay slopes of Mt Cass to the east and the Three Deans range to the west, and its vineyards grow with gusto under the unmistakable cloud formation known as the Nor’west Arch. When you see it, you know that Canterbury’s fierce northwesterly is blowing hot and dry –which isn’t good for ones mood, but it’s great for controlling vine vigour and creating intense, succulent pinot noir. Combine this bionic breeze with long, dry autumns means Waipara winemakers enjoy minimal disease pressure leading into vintage. Waipara’s modern wine era began with experimental plantings on a 400ha farm in the 1960’s, but it was in the mid 1980’s when pinot pioneering kicked into gear and by 2017 the region can lay claim to being home to international trophy winning examples that are winning friends and influencing people.
Inland from the Waipara Valley lies the Waikari Hills, an area incorporating the Weka Pass, Pyramid Valley and Scargill Valley. Hunting for new and exciting terroirs, curious producers struck out in the late 1990’s, toward land famous for its outcrops of pure, limestone-derived rendzina soils. Soils that inject a distinctive layer of minerality that marinates through the wines of this exciting sub-region. These high-density planted vineyards are at higher elevations, 250-300m above sea level, and have soils ranging from pure chalky limestone to lime-rich derived clays and subsurface marine glauconite/greensand. The clay provides flesh and generosity to Waikari’s pinot noir, while the increased levels of this special ‘active’ limestone, imparts tension, nervosity and a lovely layer of salinity.
As the most southern wine region in the world you’d expect Central Otago to have an extreme environment, but nothing prepares you for how unforgiving the landscape actually is. From it’s origins in the goldrush, to experiments in the early 1980’s, Central Otago has, in just three short decades, transformed itself into a powerhouse of New Zealand’s pinot noir production. With it’s moonscape-like, rocky “schisty” outcrops that absorb heat from the day and radiate it at night, dry sandy soils and rugged hillsides carpeted with scrub and wild thyme, it’s home to some of the pinot-worlds most stellar sub-regions. The vineyards of Bannockburn, Bendigo, Alexandra, Gibbston, Pisa, Lowburn and Wanaka, are all pockets of pinot noir perfection, connected by the slow moving, cloudy blue waters of the Clutha and Kawarau Rivers.
In the north there’s a rising star in the Waitaki region.