Region - Martinborough / Wairarapa

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Martinborough / Wairarapa

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Region Wineries

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

Ata Rangi, meaning “dawn sky” or “new beginning” in Maori, is a small producer in Martinborough, located at the southern end of New Zealand’s North Island. Our founder, Clive Paton, is one of the country’s pioneers of Pinot Noir, planting his first vines on the stony terrace in 1980. The vineyard and winemaking team, led by Helen Masters, focuses on organic practices and traditional techniques. We combine a passion for conservation with a deep respect for the land. Restoration and regeneration of native flora and fauna is a driving force, engaging our team and wider community in making a tangible and meaningful difference to our local landscape.

Craggy Range

Craggy Range is a family owned winery established in 1998, and situated in the shadow of the spectacular Te Mata Peak in the premium wine growing area of Hawke’s Bay New Zealand.
Craggy Range produces a collection of iconic wines from grapes grown on exceptional estates in Hawke’s Bay, Martinborough, and Marlborough, with an unrelenting focus on quality. From the stony, warm soils of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay to the volcanic, clay soils of Te Muna Road in Martinborough, these exceptional vineyards produce wines with amazing aromatics, purity and complexity.

Decibel Wines

After a stint in the music industry and working in his family’s historic establishment, McCrossen’s Tavern in Philadelphia, Daniel Brennan discovered Martinborough Pinot Noir.  Impacted by the purity of fruit and complexity of these wines, Daniel uprooted his life and moved, penniless but full of passion to study winemaking in New Zealand.  In the past 13 years cultivating Whanaungatanga Daniel has worked for and with some of NZ’s top producers while developing his own wines under the Decibel and Testify labels. With a massive awareness of kaitiakitanga and the future he wants to leave for his daughter, his turangawaewae is next to his growers where they work to transition their vineyards to organics.

Dry River Wines

At Dry River Wines we aim to bottle a blend of our unique vision and nature’s creativity. This approach was initiated by Dr. Neil McCallum who, together with his partner Dawn, first planted our vines in the gravelly Martinborough Terrace soils in 1979. The expression of individuality has always been a focal point for our wine, a combination of the classic and organic farming principles we follow and the winemaking practices we continue to develop. Dry River’s team of six is small but not isolated: with the support of the Robertson family, we strive not just to produce the best wine but to promote the region’s capabilities, because our strength and success is inextricably tied to that of our community.


At Escarpment, we have created an expression of NZ Pinot Noir which has evolved over 35 years of dedication to the variety. It has been sculpted by Tim Bourne and Larry McKenna from fruit entirely originating from Martinborough vineyards. We are interested in the structure, complexity and fruit expression of our wines and how they are pronounced from single sites. Our future is to fashion wines of great complexity and elegance from our organic status vineyards.

Gladstone Vineyard

Gladstone Vineyard was planted in 1986, in the central sub-region of the Wairarapa valley. The region is home to the first plantings of Pinot Noir in New Zealand. Our vineyards are planted along the river terraces of the Ruamanhanga River which offers a semi-maritime microclimate with long sunlight hours. These optimal grape ripening conditions paired with a respect for the land has championed a winemaking style that expresses the best of the region.

The Elder Pinot

The Elder Pinot is a small Martinborough wine producer, formed in 2010, between the Hanson and Elder families. Our philosophy is to produce limited quantities of single vineyard wines from the best vintages, with an emphasis on the elegant, savoury characteristics and structure of great pinots. Located at the Southern end of the Te Muna Valley, the vineyard is operated on organic principles, and following sustainable practices for the long-term care of our land.