The Wairarapa occupies the southeast corner of the North Island, sharing roughly the same latitude as Marlborough.
Pinot Noir found a home here early. In the 1890s, retired gentleman farmer William Beetham and his French wife Hermance planted Pinot in their Landsdowne vineyard near Masterton. Beetham was effusive in his praise for the grape in a 1901 press interview: “(Mr Beetham) has tried other varieties, but the Pineau Noir, his first favourite, still surpasses all others.”
The region rose quickly to prominence in the modern era. The early expressions from wineries such as Martinborough Vineyard and Ata Rangi began collecting gold medals through the 1980s, establishing the region as a Pinot stronghold. These were among the first New Zealand Pinots to draw overseas attention.
Today, there are 72 wineries (almost all boutique in size) spread across the region, which is centred on a large flood plain that spreads out below the sheltering Tararua Range. The Ruamahanga River flows north to south, linking the sub-regions of Masterton. Gladstone and Martinborough.
Most of the region’s vines grow on old alluvial river terraces. It’s a hot spot in summer and very dry – the town of Martinborough is the driest place in the whole North Island. Exposure to the south and its chilling winds acts as a natural brake on yields.
The Wairarapa has 969ha under vine, making it one of the smaller New Zealand wine regions. Pinot Noir accounts for over half these plantings. It is the region’s most successful grape and the reason for its global reputation.
Ata Rangi 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…
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.
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.
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.
Murdoch James Estate
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.
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.