Wairarapa means glistening waters in Māori.
With a cool climate and Burgundian soil profile Martinborough, Wairarapa is an area initially renowned for stunning Pinot Noir. It is a windy and cool region – the cold southerly wind whips up from the Cook Strait and is funnelled towards Martinborough by mountains to the east and west. The wind has been known to reach 120km/h and can inflict a lot of damage! But luckily it has a particularly interesting impact on the Pinot Noir grapes – they are small and thicker skinned and have added structure, colour and tannin. Soil is moderately fertile, well-drained alluvial loam over deep gravel. There is a high diurnal range with warm days and cool nights. Rainfall is low at 700mm per annum due to the rain shadow of the Tararua Mountains. Weather patterns are stable, particularly during the harvest in Autumn and there is low risk of fungal disease or mildew.
Named after the founding runholder John Martin, the town of Martinborough was laid out in the form of a Union Jack. Situated on the southern end of the North Island, the quaint village of Martinborough sits at 42° south, a similar distance to Burgundy from the equator.
Martinborough was first planted in the late 1970s. Elegant Pinot Noir, crisp Chardonnay, vivid Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and aromatics are all produced – making up around 1% of New Zealand’s annual wine production.