Lying at 41.3 degrees south, Marlborough has a heat summation figure of 2070 – 2250 degree days about the same amount of heat as Burgundy and slightly less than Bordeaux.
In these bright but relatively “cool” climate conditions, the grapes have the advantage of a long slow, flavour-intensifying ripening period. The average daily temperatures during summer is nearly 24 degrees celsius but clear cool nights keep acid levels high in the grapes.
Marked diurnal (day/night) temperature variations are a key factor behind the ability of Marlborough grapes to retain both fresh, vibrant fruit and crisp, herbaceous characters. The temperature contrast also helps to enhance the flavour development in the skins of Pinot Noir.
Within Marlborough viticulture has been developed primarily on sites with moderate low fertility and a noticeably stony, sandy loam top soil overlaying deep layers of free-draining shingle, as found in the viticulturally developed areas of the Wairau Valley.
These shallow, fast draining, low fertility soils help to produce a lush, aromatic ripe wine that results in vines with less vigour.
The region currently has 23,600 hectares of land planted vineyard, primarily located within the Wairau Valley.
Marlborough is now New Zealand’s largest wine region – producing some 79% of the countries wine.