Top Wineries of the Wairarapa

Top Wineries of the Wairarapa

Palliser Estate

Enter into this small boutique vineyard with an international outlook. Vast green array of vines clothing the landscape as far as the eye can see, a mere hint of the mountains in the distance shrouded in a hazy fog. Sun peeking through the trees down onto the shrouded vines.

A cannon firing in the distance, welcoming visitors, or sending off signals for the evening dinner call.

Sitting in the wine village of Martinborough, Palliser first harvested the grapes in 1989.

Eighty-five hectares predominately producing the Martinborough classic, Pinot Noir, in addition to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling.

Aromas of dark cherry lingering on the palate, developing into a savoury, mushroomy flavour over time in the Palliser Estate 2009 Pinot Noir.

Ripe tropical fruits, nutty-spicy oak mingling throughout the Chardonnay.

Fragrant aromas of feijoa, currant and herbaceous create tingling, exciting flavours in the Pencarrow 2010 Sauvignon Blanc.

Zesty lemon and lemon sizzle in the glass from the 2010 Riesling, one of Martinborough’s top white wines.

Or try the experimental 2007 Methode Traditionnelle with hints of peaches from the Chardonnay, marrying with the mellow Pinot Noir, adding a long depth to the wine.

Step inside their unassuming cellar door, filled with rows and rows of bottles.

If you have always wanted to learn more about cooking and wine, then come along to one of their cooking courses.

Demonstrating how to make great vegetarian food, secrets of French cuisine, inhaling the aroma of freshly baked bread.

After watching and making the simple food, sit down with wine tastings and lunch, to savour the matches of food and wine.

Or learn how to match Pinot Noir with food at the Pinot Noir dinner party course.


Ata Rangi

First vines planted on a barren, stony twelve-acre paddock in 1980. Clive Paton, with his wife Phyll and sister Alison began this vineyard, establishing themselves as a leading New World example for their Pinot Noir.

Ata Rangi – meaning new beginning or dawn sky certainly seem to put their name to good use. Legend saying that a cutting of Pinot Noir was illegally brought in from France to New Zealand. Working as a customs officer at the time, Clive saw the potential this cutting could have. Now producing a silky and fine savoury wine, enhancing flavours of cherry, we can only wonder if the legend is true, regardless, their wine cannot be faltered.

Attracted to Martinborough because of the localised free-draining shingle terrace soil, and lowest rainfall, Clive left his customs job to start a new chapter in his life, a new beginning.

Choosing mainly varieties of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah; winning competitions for best Pinot Noir.

Together with Don and Carole McCrone, another vineyard was established, producing a ‘ripe, crisp raspberry leaf and cranberry fruit on the nose,’ says Robert Parker, a wine critic.

Gourment Traveller Wine magazine calling it “one of New Zealand’s finest wineries”.

And you can see why, with a simple and stylish tasting room, quaint and homely, you can easily relax with a glass while your hosts guide you through what you are drinking.

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2008 sings out with notes of star anise and exotic spice. Filling your senses with blueberries and blackcurrants, melding with cocoa powder in the Célèbre 2008; a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Experience Crimson 2010, the aroma of crushed rose petals, marrying with light cherry and a hint of red licorice.

Sample the ripe golden pear with almond nougat aromas, hints of nectarine in the Lismore Pinot Gris.

Even get a taste of the olive oil and Bush Block honey.


Gladstone Vineyard

Gaining an international reputation for distinctive, high quality wine. Harnessing the free-draining soil from old river terraces.

Establishing the vineyard in 1986, Christine and David Kernahan taking over the vineyard in February 1996, securing a gold medal in April for their Sauvignon Blanc.

Hidden amongst the trees covering the landscape, a villa peeks out, the mountains sprouting from the distance. Live music drifting around the café, while the laughter of children fill the playground, pigs scavenging for food.

Dining tables and chairs scattered amidst the vines, bird nests shrouding the vines, planted near the Ruamahanga River.

Grapes sprinkling the vines of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.

Enjoy a glass with the wine-matched degustation dinner in the café, or amble over to the tasting room to sample some of their delectable wines.

Gladstone Vineyard 2009 Sauvignon Blanc aromas of passionfruit and lime drift out from the glass to your nose.

While floral characters mingle with black plum and sweet and sour notes of black cherry dance together in the 2009 Pinot Noir.

Zesty lime, grapefruit and lemon peel sizzle in the 2010 Riesling.

Or try the premium blend of the 12,000 Miles Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot 2009. Aromas of blackberry, violets and English tea are softened with red cherry, spiced up with hints of clove.


Specialising in Bordeaux-style blends, the Wairarapa wines uses the soil to create a deeply rich embodied wine, sure to please any red wine lover. Especially those that dapple in the favourite Pinot Noir.


Peter Janssen, “150 of New Zealand’s best”, Vineyard Visits, HarperCollins Publishers 2007

Palliser Estate, Accessed 14/09/11,

Ata Rangi, Accessed 14/09/11,

Gladstone Vineyard, Accessed 14/09/11,

Published by sharlene25

Sharlene Almond is the author of the genre-bending Annabella Cordova series, and a New Zealand travel book Journey in little Paradise. She has written a range of health, writing and body language articles; contributing as a guest writer on other blogs. Over the last ten years, Sharlene has attained qualifications in Body Language, Criminology, Journalism, Editing, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Pet Care, and Animal Behaviour. While setting up an online nutritional business, she is studying to specialize in Medicinal Cannabis and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sharlene is also currently editing her second Annabella Cordova novel, with two others in the works. To support her online business, Sharlene sends out a trimonthly newsletter covering health, body language, writing, and even articles centered on health topics for your pet.

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