In the 1970s, soil scientist Derek Milne identified Martinborough, Wairarapa, as having potential for growing cool-climate grape varieties. The area has low annual rainfall and cool dry autumns. In 1979 colleague Neil McCallum followed Milne’s advice and planted vines on a terrace formed by the Ruamāhanga and Huangarua rivers 20,000 years ago. He named his vineyard Dry River – also the name of an early Wairarapa sheep station. Other vineyards were soon established on the river terrace, north of Martinborough township. The area has developed a reputation for fine pinot noir and riesling wines.
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