Ata Rangi is a family owned winery in New Zealand, known for being small in size, but enormous is quality, style and reputation. Located in Martinborough, ‘Ata Rangi’ is run by Clive and Phyll Paton, alongside Clive’s sister Alison and the formidable force that is head Winemaker Helen Masters. In 1980 Clive read a scientific report that highlighted how the soil and climate in Martinborough was perfect for growing grapes in, from that he made the bold decision to sell his dairy cows to buy 5 hectares of a stony, barren sheep paddock, from that ‘Ata Rangi’ was born.
‘Ata Rangi’ in Maori means “dawn sky” or “new beginnings” which we believe to be an extremely apt summation of their ethos and winemaking prowess. They are committed to nurturing the land they work from, so it’ll be habitable for future generations, with a clear focus on organic grape growing, sustainability and leaving the land better than they found it. They want to achieve wines that are courageous, complex, and mouth filling experiences. Head winemaker Helen Masters – who won the ‘2019 New Zealand Winemaker of the year’ award – further adds to this wineries outstanding reputation.
‘Ata Rangi’ had an admirable reputation as one of the most respected and reputable Pinot Noir producers in the New World of winemaking. Their three flagship Pinot Noirs are the ‘Ata Rangi Pinot Noir’, the ‘McCrone Pinot Noir’, and the ‘Crimson’ Pinot Noir – a wine designed to drink early. Sales of this help support ‘Project Crimson’, a charitable trust dedicated to the conservation of New Zealand’s famous Pohutukawa tree. Other mentionable wines are Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot – Syrah – Cabernet Blend and the wine that inspired founder of Specialist Cellars Melanie Brown to start her Journey in wine – ‘The Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay’.
For more information on Ata Rangi and their wines, you can visit their website here.
Although a small region, there’s no doubt about the fact Martinborough packs a punch. Producing some of New Zealand’s most acclaimed wines and garnering a large following. The regions first vines were planted back in 1883, but it wasn’t until 1970 that heads started to turn and Martinborough was competing on the world stage. The region features a diverse selection of wines, but the silt loam and gravelly sub-soils of the Martinborough Terrace ensure pinot noir and sauvignon blanc grapes flourish.
The areas three sub-regions; Martinborough, Masterton and Gladstone and have similar grape varieties planted, but the differing terroir of each brings out unique flavours. The Wairarapa makes up 3% of New Zealand’s total production. This number is contributed to by the fact vineyard yields in the area below the national average, this alone is a large contributor to the regions success.
While Martinborough is a small colonial village with many of the producers in the area being family owned and run. Only a short drive north of New Zealand’s’ capital city Wellington, the area is well situated as has earned the reputation as the wine hub of the Wairarapa. Gladstone is a little south of Masterton, Wairarapa’s largest town and is one of the fastest growing wine regions in the country, luckily for us, it has plenty of room to grow!
Wairarapa is one of the coolest and driest areas in the north island, with climate and soil conditions similar to that of Burgundy, it’s no surprise that the wines produced in the area are some of New Zealand’s finest.