When the first Marlborough vines were planted in 1973 few people predicted that the region would become New Zealand’s largest and best known winegrowing area in little more than 20 years. The distinctive pungency and zesty fruit flavours of the first wines captured the imagination of the country’s winemakers and wine drinkers alike and sparked an unparalleled boom in vineyard development.
Worldwide interest in Marlborough wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc, has continued to fuel that regional wine boom. The free-draining, alluvial loams over gravelly subsoils in the Wairau and Awatere River valleys provides ideal growing conditions. Abundant sunshine with cool nights and a long growing season helps to build and maintain the vibrant fruit flavours for which Marlborough is now famous. Sauvignon Blanc is the most planted grape variety with Chardonnay in second place, followed by Pinot Noir and Riesling. Sauvignon Blanc may be the star but Marlborough has also earned an enviable reputation for Méthode Traditionelle sparkling wines as well as a wide range of both white and red table wines.