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In 1999, Robert and Mem Kirby and Larry and Sue McKenna met for the first time, and quickly realized they shared a great passion for Pinot Noir, and the project to develop Escarpment Vineyard began. Collectively all four directors bring to Escarpment a world of experience, skill and understanding to the nurturing and making of fine, deliciously sublime wine.
In the search for the perfect vineyard site, Larry and Sue kept coming back to the Martinborough area, an area they knew intimately and which they were convinced offered the rich mix of elements required to grow and make fine New World wines, in particular Pinot Noir.
Escarpment Vineyard is planted on alluvial gravel terraces at the base of the Aorangi Ranges, the very hills made famous by the legendary Polynesian voyager who, according to Maori legend, discovered New Zealand. Kupe left his three canoes, Nga Waka, on top of the range, giving rise to the now familiarlandmark of the district, the three flat-topped hills on top of the range, which resemble unturned canoes. This warrior and his story provide inspiration for Escarpment Vineyard’s distinctive brand and logo, and for Larry and his winemaking team.