Image: Ata Rangi, Martinborough
“Glistening waters” linking three fine wine villages
Just a lazy hour and a half’s drive north from Wellington, the Wairarapa is home to a band of 45 small, dedicated producers, crafting distinctive, premium Pinot Noir and include some of the most prestigious wineries in New Zealand.
Legendary Maori explorer Kupe named this place Wairarapa, or “glistening waters” where the river links the three fine wine villages of Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton. These sub-regions share a similar climate and soil structures, yet offer subtle differences in character for the discerning palate to explore.
Richly flavoured and warm
Pinot Noir is the region’s flagship red; richly flavoured and warm with a savoury undercurrent whilst retaining perfumed varietal character, Wairarapa Pinots offer texture and depth.
Getting there (and what to do while you’re there)…
Wairarapa is easily accessible from the capital city of Wellington, just over an hour’s drive through scenic country. Getting here is easy enough for a day trip, but visitors will quickly learn there is much more to experience than can be done in one day.
Between Martinborough, Gladstone, and Masterton, the cellar doors are very accessible, and some are even walking distance from one another. Many of the wineries are small producers and the chance of having a conversation with the winemaker is something that draws visitors.
For a truly unique experience, stay at one of the abundant vineyard accommodation options, and hear the stories of the people, the wine, and the region. The region is famous for its premium Pinot Noir, but one of the real treats is discovering something lesser known and very special.