Palliser have their estate in Martinborough, in the Wellington region at the southern end of New Zealand’s North Island. At a time when everyone else looked at the land around and thought “this’ll be a good place to graze sheep”, they thought “No. This’ll be a great place to make wine”. They thought lamb chops are good but wouldn’t you rather have a glass of award-winning wine? And so in 1984 Palliser was co-founded, by the late Richard Riddiford, and named after British Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser (1723-1796). Palliser is an unlisted public company owned by a small number of New Zealanders. They harvested their first grapes in 1989, and now over 30 years later they are one of New Zealand’s premier wine brands, known and enjoyed worldwide and found in some of the best restaurants, hotels and airlines around the globe. In 1995 Palliser were the first winery in New Zealand to become ISO 9002 certified. Today they have seven vineyards spread across 72 hectares, producing predominantly Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as some Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling.
The Martinborough Terrace, where they grow their grapes, is a small but very special area of land located at the southern end of the 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 challenging frosts and strong winds.
Palliser farm organically and biodynamically and although all six vineyards (Om Santi 9 hectares, Clouston 25 hectares, Hua Nui 6.5 hectares, Pencarrow 25.7 hectares, Winery 2.2 hectares and Pinnacles 4 hectares) are within walking distance of each other, they each produce quite distinctive wine styles reflecting the differences in soils and micro climates.
It’s a perfect combination that creates a perfect range of wines - these mavericks who gambled on taking farmland and turning it into vineyards produce wines that are hard to forget!
Palliser’s Pencarrow wines are made in the same meticulous fashion as the Palliser Estate range. These wines are approachable, fruit driven and soft in style.
There are many stories of Pencarrow but none quite as heroic as that of Mary Jane Bennett. When her husband died in 1855, she not only raised five children by herself but stepped up as Pencarrow’s Lighthouse keeper! For ten long years she braved the elements, making sure ships and crew stayed safe along the remote and rugged coastline. To this day as New Zealand’s only female lighthouse keeper, she was a true character of excellence and the Pencarrow range honours this strong, inspirational woman. We invite you to toast this bygone heroine - there’s a sense of occasion locked inside every bottle!