The Marlborough wine region attracts the attention of the world because of the brilliance of the sauvignon blanc that comes from here. While there have long been small grape plantings around the New Zealand wine regions, including Marlborough, it wasn't until the 1970s, when sauvignon blanc was planted, that Marlborough would begin its rapid ascent to a classic wine region of the New World.
Marlborough has a perfect combination of landscape and climate that makes it fantastic for grape growing. We have high lux intensity light and a low humidity environment for getting our grapes across the line late in the season, hanging them out on the vine to get the bright flavours that we think are so special to Marlborough.
New Zealand is two long skinny islands out in the middle of the ocean, with low air pollution, clean soils and clear skies. Marlborough is at the top of New Zealand's South Island, and our maritime climate affords a long, temperate growing season.
The Richmond Ranges to the northwest protect Marlborough from the wet winds off the Tasman Sea, while the high Kaikōura Ranges in the south deflect the icy Antarctic air. Sunshine hours are amongst the highest in New Zealand, humidity is low and temperatures mild, with large variations between day and night. Our cool climate ensures a slow and long ripening for the grapes, and as a result flavours are intense and crisp. The terroir is hugely different in the various regions and sub-regions within the Marlborough growing area.
The Richmond Ranges protect the Wairau from the wet winds off the Tasman Sea, sunshine is high, temperatures mild, humidity low, and soils well-drained and fertile. On the valley floor, water is plentiful for sauvignon blanc, but on the dry southern clay slopes, pinot noir battles for every sip.
At Kēkerengū, down by the mild ocean, spring breaks early, and the vines leaf out before the rest of Marlborough. Cool winds from the sea prolong the growing season, and the grapes are the last harvested in the province. The limestone in the soil, and the long growing season, give a unique savoury structure to the sauvignon blanc.
The dry, narrow Awatere Valley has a more extreme climate than the Wairau, with strong cool winds, more clay-based soils, greater temperature fluctuations and a later ripening season. As a result, the grape berry size is reduced, and flavours can be more intense. Wines here are more influenced by the flavours from the skins.