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Ata Rangi

ATA RANGI is a small family-owned organic winery owned and run by Clive Paton, his wife Phyll, and Clive's sister Alison. Their estate is located in Martinborough, at the south east corner of the North Island of New Zealand. Clive was one of the first people to pioneer grape growing in the Martinborough region, planting his first vines in 1980 on less than five hectares of thin, well-drained alluvial soil. Now they have 32 hectares spread over 14 vineyards, each managed to suit its soil and clonal diversity. Their home vineyards achieved full organic status in 2014.The name means “dawn sky” or “new beginning” in the Maori language, and was chosen to honour the land and reflect the work they do, working in sync with nature. They take a minimal intervention approach, creating wines with a real depth of palate. When Clive was looking to plant his original vineyard he heard that Auckland vineyard owner Malcolm Abel had an interesting Pinot Noir clone, and managed to acquire some of these for his home block - and it turns out that these cuttings had an illustrious history. They came from a small bundle of illegal cuttings that had been intercepted and confiscated at Auckland airport where Malcolm was working as a custom officer in the mid-70's. The canes had been sourced from one of Burgundy's finest estates - purportedly from the fabled Domaine Romanée-Conti vineyard itself! Understanding the significance of these Malcolm sent them straight to Te Kauwhata, the then state-owned viticulture research station. When the cuttings became available Malcolm planted them in West Auckland. Unfortunately Malcolm died in 1983, and the vineyard was ultimately lost to urban sprawl. And so Ata Rangi became the mother block of these vines which are now planted throughout New Zealand and known as the Abel, Gumboot, or DRC clone! No surprise then that Ata Rangi have a reputation for crafting Pinot Noir and are regarded as one of New Zealand's top Pinot Noir producers – in 2010 Alta Rangi were awarded the title of “Tipuranga Teitei O Aotearoa”, which translates as “Grand Cru” or “Great Growth of New Zealand”, one of only two wineries to be bestowed this honour, which recognises those who have taken the time to evolve and develop that most tricky of all the grape varieties - Pinot Noir!