Marlborough, New Zealand

Marlborough is New Zealand's most important wine region by far. It is particularly famous for its pungent, zesty white wines made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety. There are three main subregions: the Wairau Valley, Southern Valleys, and the Awatere Valley.


This long, straight glacial valley is home to around 45 percent of Marlborough's vineyards. It is home to the region's main center, Blenheim, and the Rapaura and Renwick sub-regions, has a warm, sunny climate cooled by winds from the Pacific Ocean. A river flood plain, it has very diverse soils, from stony river wash to deep alluvium.

Southern Valleys

The Southern Valleys zone runs just south of the Wairau Valley. It is slightly cooler and drier than the Wairau Valley. The topography is more influenced by the lower hillsides of the Wither Hill range. Soils were largely formed by glacial outwash, and include stony gravels, areas with more clay, and loess-covered hill slopes. The Waihopai Valley forms a section of this zone.


This valley lies further to the southeast and parallels the other two, running from the coast inland past the small town of Seddon. It has the coolest climate due to its added proximity to the ocean on both northern and eastern sides, and can produce wines with a slightly finer acidity and mineral quality. It is also slightly drier than the other two regions. The topography is a combination of river terraces and flood plains; soils are alluvial gravels and clay and wind-blown loess. Around 30 percent of Marlborough's plantings are located here.

The central part of Marlborough is locked in between two large rivers - the Wairau and the Awatere. There, in the very heart of the Southern Valleys, lies the Waihopai Valley and Craiglochart Vineyard – the home of Midalidare New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

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