Martinborough, a small rural town with a permanent population of around 1500, lies east of the Rimutaka Range in Wairarapa. It is an hour’s drive from Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city and the Parkinson family’s original home base. In the late 1970’s careful research identified the conditions that make Martinborough ideal for viticulture – free-draining gravel river terraces, low rainfall, windy springs to control early season vine vigour, warm summers to ripen grapes, and long autumns with cool nights to preserve acid levels. The first commercial vineyards were planted in the area in 1979.
At the time of the home block purchase Martinborough had only four producing wineries and the vineyards occupied a few small pockets of land. It was a far cry from the vine-encircled town of today. Our early arrival conferred two significant advantages – the pick of some of the best sites and realistic land prices.
We believe there are two key elements to success: the site and the commitment, knowledge and experience of the people working on it. Our most important decision, which underpins everything we do, derives from this view. We produce only Martinborough wine from vineyards that we own or control. In this way we ensure that every decision having a bearing on the final wine is taken consistent with our objective of producing great Martinborough wine.
In the vineyard we pride ourselves on doing the little things well. Our vineyard management revolves around optimising sunlight on the leaves and bunches and low cropping levels to achieve concentrated, ripe flavours. Specific practices include training vines to the Vertical Shoot Positioning and Scott-Henry systems, bud and shoot thinning, correct shoot placement, leaf plucking and crop removal where necessary. We currently produce Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc from 17 hectares of vineyard.
Total planted area 4.14 hectares
Chardonnay (re-planted in 2018/19) 1.83 hectares – Mendoza on 3309 rootstock
Riesling 1.14 hectares – GM 239 clone on own roots
Pinot Noir (re-planted 2014) 1.17 hectares – Clone 5, 115 on 3309 rootstock
Planted in 1995
Total planted area 0.4 hectares
Chardonnay – Clone 6 on 3309 rootstock
Planted in 1999
Total planted area 0.8 hectares
Pinot Noir 0.8 hectares – Clones 5, 115, 10/5, Rootstock 101-14
Planted in 1996
Total planted area 2 hectares
Chardonnay 2 hectares – Clone 2/23 on Schwarzmann and 101-14 rootstock
Planted in 2000
Total planted area 3 hectares
Pinot Noir 3 hectares – Clones 10/5, 114, 115, 667, Abel, 5, Rootstocks 101-14, 5c
Planted in 2000/1/2 and 2016 Purchased by Nga Waka in 2016
Total planted area 9.35 hectares
Chardonnay 1.89 hectares – Clones 95, 2/23, 15 and 548 on 101-14 and 3309 rootstock
Pinot Noir 6.02 hectares – Clones Abel, 5, 10/5, 115, 667 on Schwarzman, 101-14 rootstock
Sauvignon Blanc 1.44 hectares – Mass Selection clone on 101-14 rootstock
Purchased by Nga Waka in 2019
Due to disease all the vines were removed in 2019
Between 2020 and 2022 this vineyard will be replanted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay and Riesling