ATA RANGI "new beginning" or "dawn sky" was a barren 5-hectare paddock when Clive Paton bought it in 1980. He was one of a handful of winemaking pioneers in Martinborough, then a forgotten rural settlement, who were attracted to the area by three key features - the localised, free-draining shingle terrace some 20 metres deep, the lowest rainfall records of anywhere in the North Island, and the proximity to the capital city of Wellington, just an hour away.
Clive, who'd farmed in the area, knew the land well. He chose mainly red varieties - Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah - and set out in pursuit of world class wines. Pinot Noir's potential shone from the start - the early wines widely appreciated for their texture and for their pure fruit expression of the variety. The early days were tough with no income, trees or shelter belts (the Wairarapa is renowned for its relentless, drying nor-westers) and little experience. The first winemakers persevered, sharing knowledge and ideas, as well Read more »