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Martinborough wines set to take off

By Hayley Gastmeier
[email protected]

Martinborough’s already impeccable wine reputation is set to reach new heights.
Five drops from the area have made it into a list of the country’s most prestigious wines and will be featured on various international flights.
The wines – from vineyards Dry River, Ata Rangi, Kusuda and Craggy Range – were among 47 chosen nationwide to make up the Fine Wines of New Zealand selection, a list put together by six of New Zealand’s leading independent wine experts.
Supporting the programme is Air New Zealand, which will start to feature wines from the list in its business premier cabins from September.
Ata Rangi business manager Pete Monk said having the vineyard’s 2013 pinot noir showcased through the airline could have a positive effect on business.
“Air New Zealand travels all over the world and they have a very good brand with high awareness, so there may be some additional lift in our awareness as a result of this … anything of this sort of nature has a positive impact.”
Mr Monk said it was incredible that of the nine pinot noir wines selected for the list, four were from Martinborough, showing the town was “punching well above its weight”.
He said Wairarapa produced just one per cent of the nation’s wine, yet its wines made up over 10 per cent of the Fine Wines selection, reflecting the region’s exceptional wine-making standards.
“We play a long, long game in this industry,” Mr Monk said.
“The recognition that we do get with world-class reviews and ending up in top restaurants around the world and being on lists like this Air NZ fine wines list, that’s just reinforcement of the continual effort that we put into the brand and the quality aspects of our hard work.”
Dry River made the list twice with its 2013 pinot noir and 2014 pinot gris.
Cameron Douglas, NZ’s only Master Sommelier, said Dry River was “in the top five producers of pinot gris”.
Also selected was the Craggy Range Aroha Pinot Noir 2013 and Kusuda Pinot Noir 2013.
Air New Zealand chief operations officer Bruce Parton said the Fine Wines list, to be compiled annually, would boost the commercial success of leading NZ wineries and “provide a benchmark for aspiring wine-makers”.
The Fine Wines of New Zealand were revealed at a tasting event last Thursday in Auckland, which the reporter flew to courtesy of Air New Zealand.

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