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Escarpment

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Situated just 5 kilometres east of Martinborough village, Escarpment’s 24 hectares of distinctive alluvial gravel, terraced land stretches out along the banks of the Huangarua River.

Overlooking the vineyard are the Aorangi Ranges, the very hills made famous by Kupe the great Polynesian voyager who discovered New Zealand, according to Maori legend. Kupe left his three canoes, Nga Waka, on top of the range, giving rise to the now familiar landmark of the district, the “Nga Waka-o-Kupe” or three flat-topped hills on top of the range, which resemble unturned canoes. This warrior and his story provide the inspiration for the vineyard’s distinctive brand and logo.

Escarpment’s aim is simple: to continually produce the very best of tomorrow’s definitive New World wines. “Complexity” “texture” and “structure” are key words (and motivators). Under Larry’s leadership the team aims to reward wine lovers with progressive and suggestive wines that encourage them to venture to the edge of wine loving and appreciation.

FIRST STEPS
Escarpment Vineyard was established in 1998 as a joint business venture between Robert & Mem Kirby (of Australia’s Village Roadshow) and Larry & Sue McKenna. Meeting by chance in 1998 through Dr Richard Smith, Larry and Robert quickly hit it off and realised they had more than a love for the grape in common. Serious talk about establishing a definitive New World vineyard began in earnest even then and the ‘idea whose time has come’ has resulted in one of the most significant vineyard developments in the New Zealand district of Martinborough. The property was purchased by Torbreck, Borossa Valley Shiraz specialists in March 2018

IN SEARCH OF THAT SPECIAL SPOT
Making the decision to establish their own vineyard was one thing, finding that special piece of land that offered the essential ingredients required for optimal grape growing and wine making was another. Although they considered other wine growing areas in New Zealand, Larry and Sue kept coming back to the Martinborough area. They knew the area intimately having grown grapes there and making wine there for years. They were convinced Martinbrough offered the rich mix of elements they required to grow and make fine New World wine, particularly their pinots.

They soon discovered the Te Muna river terraces across the other side of the hill and knew this was it for them! Basically being an extension of Martinborough’s famed “terrace” land, the Te Muna site offered all the right “attributes”, with land a-plenty for their purposes. Larry and Sue firmly believe the Te Muna valley is the new future of Martinborough. Evidence for this is seen in the range of new vineyards being established in the area, including much talked about Craggy Range, whose planting alone will double the current output of Martinborough.


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