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The Growing Region

Internationally recognised for its world-class Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough’s diverse soils and micro-climates means this South Island region is enjoying increasing success with other varietals. These include intense and complex Chardonnays, dark cherry-driven Pinot Noirs, vivid aromatics, and more.


In Marlborough, nature has created a perfect marriage of climate, location and soil. Boasting New Zealand’s highest sunshine average (around 2,409 sunshine hours a year), the region’s long, hot days and pure, cold nights result in piercing fruit intensity and strong varietal expression. Long ripening times maintain high acid levels in the grapes, while the region’s protective mountains shelter vines from extreme rain and wind. What’s more, Marlborough’s huge diurnal variation means grapes retain their fresh, vibrant fruit, crisp, herbaceous characters and vibrant colour.


Located at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, Marlborough is ideally located for viticulture. Sheltered by mountains all around, the vine-clad plains stretch as far as the eye can see. The idyllic combination of long, hot days and cool nights, low rainfall and alluvial soil produces uniquely vivid wines across a wide range of varieties and styles. On the Wairau Plain and in Awatere Valley, the shallow, fast-draining soils produce lush, aromatic wines, while over towards the Kaikoura Coast, cooler temperatures and chalky, limestone soils allow the grapes to ripen slowly and develop intense sugar and acidity.

Grape Varietals

With over 20,000 hectares of land now planted in vines (around two-thirds of New Zealand’s total), Marlborough has long been recognised for its flagship Sauvignon Blancs: vivid, pure, fruit-driven, aromatic and herbaceous and tropical. These days, other varieties are moving from strength to strength: dark cherry, plummy, spicy Pinot Noirs; well-structured, complex and intense Chardonnays; and pure, vivacious aromatics, including Rieslings, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminers. More recently, Gruner Veltliner, Voignier, Syrah and Methode Traditionelle are showing promise as this ‘new world’ region continues to mature.


The key to Marlborough’s wine-growing success is its deep, gravelly soils laid down by millennia of glacial activity. The region’s unique braided rivers have left behind a legacy of riverbank and riverbed soils; from sandy loams to very deep gravels. Soils vary greatly within the region, from heavier, clay-based soils in the southern valleys (ideal for growing Pinot Noir), to stony, alluvial soils towards Rapaura and loamier, more water retentive soils in the Lower Wairau Valley and Awatere.