Why Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is such a success

Jamie Goode looks at the unique set of circumstances that launched the phenomenon known as Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Marlborough /Delta Wine Company)/NZ Winegrowers
Marlborough /Delta Wine Company)/NZ Winegrowers

Back in 1973, New Zealand’s wine scene was very different. Many of the vineyards were planted with hybrids, the most prevalent vinifera grapes were Müller-Thurgau and Palomino, and fortifieds played a significant role in the market. But things were changing. US drinks company Seagram had just bought a 40% stake in leading winery Montana whose founder, Frank Yukich, was looking for new vineyard land. 

A chance meeting with 29-year-old scientist Wayne Thomas, from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, was to prove pivotal. Thomas impressed Yukich, who hired him on the spot. It was Thomas’s suggestion that they should consider Marlborough, which at the time had no vines, but seemed to be ideal for viticulture. Yukich listened and asked Thomas to prepare a report, which he duly did. 

Marlborough expands

Appeared in

For full access...

Please log in or register now»               No subscription?  Try out our free 14 day trial»

Latest Articles