Dry River Wines - Bilancia

Dry River Wines

The name Dry River has historical significance as one of the earliest sheep stations in Wairarapa, dating back to 1877. The winery was established in 1979 by Dr Neil and Dawn McCallum who sold it to Julien Robertson and Reg Oliver in 2003, Neil remaining as the chief winemaker until he retired in 2011. The vineyards are planted on the Martinborough township border on very arid soils of free draining gravel, a site that had been identified by a friend and soil scientist Dr Derek Milne as having a 30 years record for the lowest rainfall on New Zealand’s north island. This area was limited to a 5 Kilometre radius with the deep, free draining, gravel soils being restricted to an even smaller part of this. By 1986, there were five wineries operating within this tiny, crescent shaped area of land which lay along the edge of the river terrace formed by the Ruamahunga and the Huangarua rivers around 20,000 years ago. The five wineries decided they would like to define and demarcate the terroir with an expectation that the wines produced from here would show similarities in character and a uniqueness that reflects the terroir. From 1986, wines made from within region were given a seal of origin by the Martinborough Winemakers Association and in 1991 was given its own appellation, The Martinborough Terrace Appellation to distinguish it from the other terroirs that were being explored.

Read our Q&A with Wilco Lam of Dry River Wines

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