Pioneers and part of New Zealand’s wine-growing heritage, Palliser estate harvested their first grapes in 1989 and started exporting in 1991. Ever since they have won world-wide recognition for the consistency and outstanding quality of their wines, picking up a whole string of competition gold medals (eighty to date) along the way, not to mention the accolade of being voted Exporter of the Year by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. To capitalise on the fabulous terroir here, the sun-baked terrace, the old river plain and loamy free-draining soil, the estate has a highly-skilled winemaker/viticulturist in Allan Johnson who has been with Palliser since 1991. This dual role allows him to have complete control of the wine-producing process from grape to bottle. The philosophy here is to work towards high quality fruit and produce wines of elegance and a sense of place, in as environmentally friendly a way as possible. The success of their wine-producing policy gained recognition in 1998 when they one of the first three wineries in the world to be certified to International Environmental Standard ISO 14001.
The estate spans some seven vineyards on the Martinborough Terrace, a small but very special area of land located at the southern end of New Zealand’s North Island. Framed by the Ruamahanga and Huangarua Rivers which helped carve out the Terrace centuries ago. The land is a stony silt loam overlaying varying depths of ancient free draining river gravels. The climate is dry with frosts and strong winds being the main challenge. These are wonderfully intense, elegant wines that reflect their dry, sun-kissed origins. They are generous, charming and beautifully balanced.
Palliser’s founder and all-round New Zealand wine legend, Richard Riddiford, very sadly passed away in 2016. As sad a loss as this was for those around him and many in the New Zealand wine industry, Richard would have been mightily proud of the great legacy he left behind. His long time Lieutenant, Pip Goodwin, who joined Palliser’s winemaking team in 2004, has now taken the reins and looks set to lead Palliser to even greater heights.