Welcome to Escarpment Winery
Established in 1999 by Larry McKenna, Escarpment is a small New Zealand winery producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a global reputation.
We’re a team of passionate people working together to make wines from our organic vineyards using minimal intervention winemaking. We strive for innovation and precision while respecting traditional winemaking techniques. Escarpment wines have always been different, full of surprises and perhaps even unconventional.
The winery buildings are modest and inauspicious standing watch on the renowned Martinborough river terraces overlooking the river itself. The barrel room is tucked underground and enjoys cool and humid conditions below its grassy roof. Somewhat representative of the wines we produce.
Situated just minutes east of Martinborough village, Escarpment’s 24hectares of distinctive alluvial gravel, terraced land stretches out along the banks of the Huangarua River. Located on Te Muna Road (meaning ‘the secret’ in Te Reo Maori), the meaning becomes obvious as you stumble upon our home.
Our respect for the land begins with respect for its history. Overlooking the vineyard are the Aorangi Ranges, the very hills made famous by Kupe the great Polynesian voyager who discovered New Zealand, according to Maori legend. Kupe left his three canoes, Nga Waka, on top of the range, giving rise to the now familiar landmark of the district, the “Nga Waka-o-Kupe” or three flat-topped hills on top of the range, which resemble upturned canoes.
Escarpment Vineyard subscribes to 3 pillars which support its approach to sustainable winemaking and organic viticulture.
- Firstly we want to leave the land we farm in a more sustainable state than we started with.
- Secondly we want our wines to be as pure and as healthy as possible while still maintaining the ultimate quality level we strive for
- And thirdly, the wines must exhibit their place, so minimum input organic approach allows us to reflect the place and vintage faithfully.
95 – 2019 Kupe Pinot Noir.
"The full-bodied, rich 2019 Kupe Pinot Noir is a lovely example of how size doesn't have to mean a loss of elegance. Bold black cherry and plum flavors combine with nuances of cola spice and mocha to yield ample complexity, while the palate is plush and velvety, seamlessly extending through a lingering finish. While delicious now, I expect it will drink well for more than a decade."
95 – 2018 Pinot Noir.
"Deep, ruby-red with moderate transparency, lighter on edge. The nose is full and lifting, multilayered aromas of red cherries, blackberries interweave violets, black peppercorns and a hint of earth. Medium-bodied, bright aromas of red cherries, blackberries are lifted with violets, unfolding black pepper, dark herbs, subtle earth and ash."
92 – 2019 Te Rehua Pinot Noir
"The perfumed, floral 2019 Te Rehua Pinot Noir features scents of rose petals, red raspberries and tea leaves. Medium to full-bodied, it's wiry on the palate, with ample concentration and firm tannins, accentuated by bright acids. The finish ends up being taut and slightly astringent, in need of cellaring to reach its best."