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Recognized internationally for its distinctive, herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough is New Zealand's largest winemaking region, with about 65 wineries and 290 grape growers, and over 4,000 hectares planted in grapes, mainly Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. Marlborough is also establishing a strong reputation for its methode traditionelle wines.

Located on New Zealand's east coast with mountains to the west, Marlborough is one of the country's sunniest and driest regions. In these sunny, but comparatively cool climatic conditions, the grapes benefit from a long slow, flavour-intensifying ripening period. With an average daily temperature of nearly 24°C during the summer months, but clear cool nights, high acid levels in the grapes can be maintained.

The ability of Marlborough grapes to retain both fresh, vibrant fruit and crisp, herbaceous characters is due in part to a distinct variation in the region's day/night temperature. The marked contrast between the daytime temperatures and the cooler nights also helps to enhance the colour development in the skins of the Pinot Noir grapes.

In the Wairau Plain and Awatere Valley, viticulture has been developed principally on locations with moderate, low fertility and stony, sandy loam top soil overlying deep layers of free-draining shingle. The shallow, fast-draining, low fertility soils in these areas help produce a lush, aromatic wine because they restrain the vines vigour. Where a more herbaceous style is desired, situations with greater water retentive soils and moderate fertility are chosen.

In Kaikoura, grapes are grown chalky and chert-rich marine limestone, with weathered loess and marine sands and rare gravels also present. Temperatures are slightly cooler than Wairau Plain and Awatere Valley, which prolong the grapes ripening time slightly longer. Combined with good exposure to the sun, this allows the grapes to develop sugar and acid levels slowly, ripening evenly and completely.
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