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Wairarapa wine region
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17 : Personal tradition in the heart of the Wairarapa

HE DIDN'T FOLLOW IN THE FAMILY FOOTSTEPS. A great-grandson of the founder of the Borthwick meat business which dominated the New Zealand meat trade to Great Britain for almost a century, Paddy Borthwick instead, wanted to make wine.

After Roseworthy College in South Australia, and vintages in Australia, France, Switzerland, the United States, and five more in Marlborough, Paddy was ready for his own vineyard - which he established on the Ruamahunga River in Wairarapa, in the lower North Island.

The Ruamahunga wends back and forth in a series of regular loops before it travels past Lake Wairarapa on its way to the coast east of Wellington. This used to be beef and sheep country but like nearby Martinborough, the river flats are better suited - very much so - to growing grapes. The hills curving around this particular stretch of the river, with warm days and cool nights, provide perfect conditions to ripen the fruit on the vines growing on the stony, free-draining river terraces.

The new winery at the edge of the vineyard, is an indication of Paddy's approach to winemaking. It is a solid, finely crafted building, designed for a location ideally suited to grow and make award-winning wines.

PADDY LETS THE CLIMATE AND SOILS of this riverside terroir determine each wine's character. And his wines have accumulated an impressive array of medals following the first release in 1999. Paddy strongly adheres to tradition in winemaking, but elsewhere he encourages the contemporary - the winery building next to his vineyard is a striking example.

Previous labels did not do justice to the wine in the bottle. Nor did they at all reflect the personality and involvement of this very hands-on winemaker. On his earlier labels Paddy had printed a crest - one of many variants of the coat of arms of the ancient Borthwicks of Scotland. Researching and rethinking how this was used, and combining classic and contemporary brand elements, plus careful print production, created packaging and a brand in keeping with these quality wines.


Thanks to Paddy Borthwick, Borthwick Vineyard for source material.
Vineyard images: Borthwick Vineyard.
Bottle images: Silver Image.
Sound track: Audiojungle.
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The Wairarapa