Ata Rangi: The Pinot Noir pioneer of Martinborough

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir

Selling your dairy herd to buy a vineyard may not raise too many eyebrows these days, but back in 1980 when Clive Paton purchased five barren, stony hectares to plant Pinot Noir near the tiny backwater farming town of Martinborough, New Zealand, it was positively bonkers.

Apart from Dry River Wines, established the year before (and an ill-fated venture started in 1978 by publisher Alister Taylor), there were no other vineyards in Martinborough, and quality wine production of any sort in New Zealand was nascent, to say the least. A government report published in 1978 had suggested Martinborough might be well suited to Burgundian varieties, but Paton and his sister Alison, who had bought an adjoining 2ha, were still taking a very big punt indeed in planting the first vines at Ata Rangi.

Scroll down to see notes and scores for 21 Ata Rangi wines, including a mini vertical of Pinot Noir