Marlborough, a sunny, dry region in the north of the South Island, was for many years considered suitable only for sheep farming. But in the 1970s trial plantings of grapes were made in the free-draining alluvial soils of the Wairau Plains. The success of Marlborough chardonnay and sauvignon blanc grape varieties was spectacular, and revolutionised the approach to rural land use. Viticulture boomed in Marlborough and spread to other areas of New Zealand during the 1980s and 1990s – most notably Central Otago, the Wairarapa and Canterbury.
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Photograph by Lloyd Homer
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