It has been some time in the forming, but ‘Wellington Wine Country’ has been established. This is the new marketing arm for ‘Wairarapa Winegrowers’, the combination of the existing ‘Wairarapa Wines and ‘Wines from Martinborough’ organisations. Wellington Wine Country will be responsible for the marketing of winegrowers in Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton.
The board members of Wellington Wine Country are experienced industry representatives, along with an independent director. They are: Nicola Belsham (Chair) of Murdoch James, Paula Jackson (independent), Christine Kernohan of Gladstone Vineyard, Larry McKenna of Escarpment Vineyard, Anthony Olsen of Stonecutter, Jo Parker (General Manager) and Tania DeJonge (Administration Support).
I see this as a major step in the collaborative and inclusive work in promoting the wines of the greater Wairarapa area. There has been the talk and the willingness to do so for over a decade by many of the winegrowers in the region. There was a case for the special identity of Martinborough to be kept separate, as it had more producers and a longer modern history and track record. But this has changed significantly as producers in the Gladstone and Masterton areas have proven to make high quality wines that sit comfortably in the style as those made in Martinborough.
There has always been considerable interchange and interaction between the winegrowers and winemakers of Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton. There is no denying a general similarity of climate, geography and geology of the greater region. But also, there is the recognition that there are significant differences between them. This is not much more so than the differences that exist in the Martinborough vignoble itself. We acknowledge that The Martinborough Terrace is different in some ways to the Dry River Road area south of the village, as there are differences to the Te Muna Road area. Yet these three are still labelled ‘Martinborough’! The Wellington Wine Country moniker will enable winegrowers, winemakers and consumers to accommodate, and in fact celebrate the similarities and the differences.
I also applaud the adoption of ‘Wellington’ in the name of the new organisation. The use of Wellington acknowledges the relationship of Wellington City with the Wairarapa. Wellingtonians regard the Wairarapa is its ‘playground’. The wineries in Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton are easily grouped together as attractions to visit and engage with. Travel between any of these areas is relatively inconsequential in time and effort. And in the same vein, all of the wine producers in the greater Wairarape see Wellington city as their local market. It’s also a bonus for those who can’t differentiate between Wairarapa and Waipara! Wellington, the country’s capital city is easy to focus on for overseas consumers and visitors, and thus its local wine producing region comes to mind very easily.
Congratulations to the wine producers of Martinborough, Gladstone and Masterton for coming together and establishing Wellington Wine Country. I know you will be a success.
For more information, contact Jo Parker at email: [email protected]