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The Wairarapa wine region, close proximity to New Zealand’s capital Wellington City, makes it a popular weekend destination. The area is characterised by quaint little towns dotted between rolling fields of sheep, olives and grapes – all set against a panoramic mountain backdrop.
The town of Martinborough is located at the centre of the Wairarapa wine region. Its many boutique wineries welcome visitors, and most are within an easy walk of the town square. The region’s vineyards tend to be planted on high alluvial terraces in deep stony and free draining soils. Climatically the area is similar to Marlborough, with low rainfall, high sunshine hours and cool nights.
While small in terms of total wine production, Wairarapa’s boutique wineries have big international reputations for the quality of their Pinot Noir wines. Pinot Noir is a notoriously difficult wine to make well. The grapes must be extremely ripe when picked, have very high sugar levels, and are best suited to cool climate regions.
Over recent years, the region has undergone something of a revolution, with an explosion of boutique wineries, cafes and world class restaurants. While there are few large hotels, there are plenty of comfortable farm stays, bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels.