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In 1996 Sir Clifford and Lady Marie Skeggs planted their first vineyard in Bannockburn, in Central Otago on the South Island of New Zealand. and called it Akarua. The name comes from two Maori words which together mean “two vines”, and was chosen to represent the two original grape varieties planted, Pinto Noir and Chardonnay. By 1998, 81,000 vines had been planted over 34.5 hectares, and the first wines were bottled from the 1999 vintage. More land was purchased over the years, including the oldest organic certified vineyard in Central Otago, and they continue to convert further vineyards to organic practices. Akarua now have around 123 hectares under vine distributed throughout six different vineyard sites. Their philosophy is that wine is made in the vineyards and believe that their land plays an integral part in producing the premium wines which they make each year. Akarua produce an award-winning range of both still and sparkling wines, and although Pinot Noir and Chardonnay continue to be the backbone of their production, they have extended their range to include Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Akarua is now second generation, headed up by Clifford and Marie's son David, and it is one of the largest family-owned estates in Central Otago – making sublime fruit-focused wines from the worlds' southernmost wine region.