THE FIRST MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC
Until the 1970s, Marlborough was just another pretty pocket of New Zealand, considered too cold for anything but sheep grazing. But here at Brancott Estate, we've always loved a challenge. Discover how our founders went against the grain to create Marlborough's first ever Sauvignon Blanc, changing the face of the region forever.
1970s LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
In 1973, the first seedlings were planted at the Brancott Estate Vineyard. But after two years of mixed success, we rethought tradition to take our vines in a new direction – literally. Thanks to the region's sunny days and crisp nights, our grapes developed a unique and fresh flavour profile – and by 1979 Marlborough's first ever Sauvignon Blanc was born.
1980s FROM MARLBOROUGH TO THE WORLD
The eighties got off to a good start, with our first release Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc winning Gold at the 1980 New Zealand Easter Show. In 1982, our first shipment of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was shared beyond our borders, as it headed for the UK. By the end of the decade, our Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was selected from more than 1100 competitors to win the prestigious Marquis de Goulaine trophy at the 21st International Wine & Spirit Competition.
1990s A GROWING RECOGNITION…
By 1990 the wine industry in Marlborough had become significant enough to welcome a visit from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who planted a vine on Festival Block, home of the Marlborough Food and Wine Festival since 1987. That same year saw the appointment of a new cellar hand, Patrick Materman, who would go on to become Chief Winemaker and lead the exploration into new expressions of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Our 1996 Marlborough Chardonnay was voted International Wine of the Year and winemaker Andy Frost was named White Winemaker of the Year at the London International Wine Challenge. Today, Andy heads up our Wine Innovation programme, drawing on his vast experience to develop new expressions of Marlborough.
2000s …AND A CONTINUAL QUEST FOR DISCOVERY
Eleven years after joining as a cellar hand, Patrick Materman was named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year by Winestate Magazine. In 2006, Brancott Estate planted the first Sauvignon Gris vines in Marlborough, an ancient varietal that has faded into obscurity until a few vines were found and transplanted to New Zealand. Proving to be as well adapted to Marlborough as its near cousin, Sauvignon Blanc, the first Sauvignon Gris was released in 2009. The following year, Brancott Estate released its organic range, Living Land, and in 2011, the Brancott Estate Cellar Door and Restaurant opened its doors.
THE NEXT CHAPTER
After releasing the first ever vintage of Marlborough Sauvignon Gris, we launched Brancott Estate Chosen Rows, our finest age-worthy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. We also released the first vintage of Flight, a fresh take on Sauvignon Blanc that's naturally lighter in alcohol. Our range of Sauvignon Blanc wines now includes sparkling, organic, oak-influenced, naturally low-alcohol, age-worthy and late-harvest wines. All the while, our signature Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc continues to hold its own, with a constant stream of awards and accolades from around the world.
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