MarlboroughArguably New Zealand’s most famous wine region owing to international demand for Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough is also the largest wine producing region in the country, comprising 79% of New Zealand’s total wine production. Modern winemaking commenced in Marlborough in the 1970s and from tiny beginnings, the vineyard area has rapidly expanded now encompassing 23,600 hectares. Marlborough is located on the east coast of the South Island, with mountains to the west creating a rain shadow, making it one of the driest and sunniest regions in New Zealand. There are three sub regions in Marlborough, the largest being the Wairau Valley, where most plantings are concentrated on free draining alluvial soils. Viticulture has also spread to the cooler Awatere Valley, also on free draining stony loams and vineyards are also situated in the cooler southern valleys with its silt, gravel and clay soils. The soils across all three regions all have relatively low fertility to help curb the vigour of Sauvignon Blanc vines that dominate Marlborough. Although the region built its reputation on crisp, distinctively pungent unoaked Sauvignon Blanc, there is an increasing trend towards more complex barrel-ferment styles. Light-bodied, fruit driven Pinot Noir is also successful.