Marlborough producers band together to protect quality

Upper Awatere Valley (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

There are two sorts of wine producers; those who build the reputation of their region by making quality-focused wines and those who capitalise on that reputation by cutting corners, quality, and price. One builds regional goodwill while the other undermines that goodwill. They exist in Bordeaux, the Barossa, Burgundy… and Marlborough.

The only defence the builders have against the bandits is to somehow differentiate high-quality wines from the rest. That’s exactly what a group of Marlborough producers planned to do when they created a new umbrella brand “Pure Marlborough Wine” (PMW).

At a preliminary meeting of winemakers in Marlborough the establishing committee; comprising John Forrest (Forrest Wines – tastings), John Buchanan (Mount Riley Wines – tastings) and Ivan Sutherland and James Healey (Dog Point Wines – tastings), explained that membership was open to any wine producers who:

  • Make wines grown from 100% Marlborough grapes
  • Are committed to making high-quality wines
  • Conform to maximum grape yield guidelines that will be decided by the committee
  • Pay an annual fee to help fund the project
  • Are happy to submit samples for taste and/or chemical evaluation if required

Members will be allowed to use the trademark and logo (yet to be designed) of PMW on conforming wines that are bottled in New Zealand.

According to establishing committee member, John Buchanan, around 30 wineries pledged to join at the inaugural meeting with a “significant number” indicating that they would join after approval from their respective boards.

It’s a great start, although there may be further refinement and fine-tuning before PMW officially launches its brand.

I enthusiastically support this initiative.

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