Wines From Martinborough New Zealand

Thinking People, Thoughtful Wines

This Place

All great wines reflect their time and place.  Wines from Wellington Wine Country reflect their unique blend of geology, climate and human effort.


Wellington Wine Country's wines are young but their genesis is ancient. Over 20,000 years the Ruamahanga River has carved out dramatic cliffs and escarpments to expose stony sub-soils, built up deep lean layers of alluvial river terraces and cast its silty river loam across the landscape.

The area first described as the ‘Martinborough Terrace' is only approximately 1 km wide and 5 km long. That concentration is a driving force for Martinborough wine.

Many of the same attributes, with some interesting variations, are also found in the surrounding area – notably the more recently planted Te Muna Valley which rises above the Huarangarua River. 



 Fact File 

  • The ancient river terraces are covered by 20-50cm of silt
    loam soils, with loess in places
  • Generally very deep alluvial deposits - up to 15m deep -
    give very free draining soils
  • Some vineyard plantings are on limestone and clay loam soils
  • The Wairarapa region accounts
    for only three percent of national average by vineyard area
  • From such boutique scale and low crop levels, the Wairarapa produces only one percent of the national average by volume
  • Data is averaged over 2004-2008 vintages

Growing conditions

Long hot dry summers, cool nights and crisp frosty winters heat and cool the stones, releasing their minerals and creating free-draining gravels. Invigorating winds ensure healthy growing conditions.  Low humidity reduces disease risk and warm lingering autumns ripen fruit gently.

A rain shadow effect created by the Rimutaka Ranges to the south-west and the Tararua Ranges to the west keeps the region dry. 

This combination of ‘terroir' factors means that Martinborough vineyards are typically low-yielding, enhancing fruit intensity.  Martinborough's long ripening season, with cool night and warm daytime temperatures, slowly builds the structure needed to create complex pinots and aromatic whites.

Every glass of Martinborough wine echoes the Ruamahanga River's influence in mineral undertones and savoury complexity. The variations in topsoils and topography in the district offer winemakers the opportunity to explore subtly different expressions of the varietals.

Thinking People, Thoughtful Wines

Intelligent thought has always been rewarded. This fact is superbly demonstrated by Martinborough, its winemakers, and their many inspirational wines.

Martinborough is a place of considered, patient effort. A place where ideas and ideals are shared among winemakers, and an intuitive feel for the soils and vines prized. Attention to detail is intense.

Burgundy connection

Martinborough was first identified as a potential wine district in 1979 after scientific research into its climatic conditions and soils revealed a tiny area in Martinborough shared the same qualities as some of the world's finest grape-growing regions. 

Specifically, Burgundy, the Rheingau and Alsace which also produce top-flight cool climate wines like pinot noir, pinot gris and riesling.  

There are other Burgundian connections, including the boutique scale and strong family ties to land, vines and wines.  Martinborough winemakers respect Burgundy's long wine heritage and complex wines.

All these factors together are delineated in the Martinborough appellation, identifying high-quality sought-after yet limited production wines for discerning international wine aficionados.