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Winemaking Notes | Martinborough New Zealand | Vineyards & Wine

The Vineyard


As with the majority of the wine regions in NZ the Wairarapa Valley in on the East coast of the Island in the rain shadow of the mountains. Annual rain fall is around 700-800mm most of this falling over the winter months. The low summer rainfall and wind exposure has allowed us to grow in a sustainable manner since the first planting in 1980, where no synthetic fungicides and herbicides have been used. The low humidity has meant that traditional sprays such as elemental sulphur combined with careful canopy management have been enough to keep the canopies disease free. 


In 2009 we started down the track of obtaining organic certification for the vineyards and in early 2014 our vineyards achieved full BIOGRO organic certification.


The clonal make up of Ata Rangi PInot Noir is unique to our region with the major portion ( 45-50%) of our planting being the Abel clone- click here for the history of Abel. This clone suits our region in that it is later to flower and therefore avoids some of the worst of the spring weather. It also has a particularly savoury character and very fine tannins.




In terms of Pinot Noir, the vineyard is broken into around 80 distinct parcels. These parcel are picked separately but are co-fermented depending on age of vines etc.


Winemaking is very traditional:


In cool seasons, the fruit is 100% destemmed and in more normal years potions of whole bunch are used in each fermenter.


No enzymes are used and the ferments are by indigenous yeasts (no inoculation).


The biggest decisions of the winemaking process are:


When to pick – this is critical to achieve tannin ripeness but not letting the fruit get overly ripe
When to press – matching extraction to the fruit weight and tannin quality is monitored each day.
All pinot goes to barrel. The Ata Rangi Pinot Noir has about 35% new oak and the Crimson around 18%. All oak is French, tight to extra tight grain with low toasting levels.


Malolactic is not inoculated and will generally start in spring (October).