75% of New Zealand’s total wine production comes from Marlborough and Sauvignon Blanc makes up 85% of all wines produced in the region. Located to the north east of the South Island, the region is known for producing wines of extraordinary purity and an intensity of flavour to support the impressive aroma and distinctive fruit characteristics. With the Pacific Ocean to the East and towering mountain ranges to the North, it makes for one of the most beautiful wine-growing regions in the world.
To make a wine of exceptional quality, a lot of factors need to come together in perfect harmony. Marlborough is renowned as one of the world’s most premium wine-growing regions and is constantly recognised internationally as such. It combines climate, soil, and incredibly talented growers, producers and winemakers to establish wines with the potential to astound and delight.
Once better known for Barley, the wine trade in the region has been on a meteoric rise over the last 40 years. When the first vines were planted back in 1973, Frank Yukich who had taken the plunge in snapping up land in the area made the bold statement: “Wines from here will become world famous” – to say he was laughed off the vineyard would be an exaggeration, but few took his bold statements seriously.
Fast-forward nearly 40 years and in 2009 the wine industry contributed $1.3 billion to the region’s gross output and provided the equivalent of 4,000 full time jobs. In 10 years the number of wineries in the region has doubled and the amount of growers has doubled in just five years. Demand continues to rise, popularity continues to rise and the awards continue to flood through the winery gates.
Sauvignon Blanc is king in Marlborough; there is no doubt to that fact. As mentioned, it is responsible for 85% of all plantings. You’ll also find some Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and if you look hard enough, some Riesling as well. So while it’s renowned for its Sauvignon production, it’s certainly not a one trick pony.
It’s often said that in order to survive, you need to innovate. Virgin as a brand is known for innovation, so it’s little wonder that we appreciate the pioneering innovative spirit of the Marlborough wine growers. Marlborough is home to New Zealand’s leading wine research facility, and the constant pursuit of improving quality standards ensures that it remains at the forefront of innovation. This includes environmental activity management like sustainable wine growing, CarboNZero initiatives and bird pest initiatives.
We’re proud of the work we do in Marlborough and can’t wait to see what this stunning wine-region produces next.