Wairarapa (Maori for ‘glistening waters’ is a compact yet diverse region of boutique producers offering high-quality examples of a wide range of varieties, supported by a vibrant, wine-focused community.
The three main sub-regions (Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton) share broadly similar climate and soils yet also offer subtle differences in character for the discerning palate to explore.
A range of styles and varieties are on offer with standout Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and aromatics as well as stylish Chardonnay, Syrah and dessert wines.
With a fascinating early settler history, vines were first planted in 1883 though fell victim to the temperance movement in 1905 (a 1903 vintage Masterton wine tasted 82 years later was pronounced “alive and well…”). Wairarapa’s modern wine history dates from the late 1970s plantings of Martinborough producers Dry River, Martinborough Vineyard, Ata Rangi and Chifney (now Margrain).
Wairapara has just 3% of New Zealand’s land under vine, and 1% of its total production yet boasts some of NZ’s most iconic and sought-after producers.
A fairly short and definitely scenic drive from Wellington, and a mere 30-odd km from the sea both south and east, Wairarapa offers a range of wine tourism pursuits and pleasures with plenty of unique accommodation and dining options.
Source: New Zealand Winegrowers – nzwine.com