Larry McKenna – otherwise known as Larry McPinot – is the man behind Escarpment. His name goes hand-in-hand with the best quality Pinot Noir from New Zealand. Escarpment is registered as a Sustainable NZ producer and is currently following a 5 year plan to become organically certified.
The vineyards are sited above a natural escarpment above the Huarangarua River on ancient gravels. Overlooking them are the Aorangi Ranges where Maori legend has it that the Polynesian voyager Kupe abandoned 3 canoes. The upturned canoes are still clearly visible, silhouetted along the top of the ridge and Kupe’s silhouette takes pride of place on every Escarpment label.
After 21 years winemaking experience in Martinborough, Larry is now defining the terroir of the Martinborough geographic region with his exciting range of single vineyard wines.
In his understated way, Larry has advised “I was awarded the George Fistonich medal by the NZ International Wine Show. It’s one of those life time achievement things you get when you have been around too long.”
View all Escarpment wines
The soils of the vineyard are alluvial loams that were formed by the Huangarua River over 20,000 years ago. With very deep alluvial gravels now layered over the loams this composition ensures exceptional drainage, one of the key prerequisites for nurturing and producing premium quality, healthy grape vines. The climate is cool with summer days rarely exceeding 30 degrees centigrade. This allows the grapes to ripen slowly and to develop pure, powerful fruit characters with finely textured tannins. The rainfall is the lowest in the North Island with very stable weather patterns during the all important harvest period
One of New Zealand's most famous winemakers, Larry McKenna is the man behind Escarpment. Larry's name goes hand in hand with the best quality Pinot Noir from New Zealand.
We have 'The Escarpment' which is a 30m drop, so steep you can only just walk up it, and about 1km long. It is currently planted to pine trees with the aim of converting it slowly back to native plants indigenous to the area. We wish to create a haven for native birds.
We cover all grapes with bird exclusion nets during the ripening season so there is no need for bird scarring or other deterrents.
Organic / Biodynamic
Escarpment is accredited with Sustainable Winegrowing
New Zealand, an industry initiative directed through
New Zealand Winegrowers. With a growing trade and
consumer demand for environmentally friendly products,
it provides an important platform to promote the NZ
wine industry as a world leader in clean, green wine
Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand provides a framework
to improve all aspects of performance - environmental,
social and economic sustainability. In the vineyard it addresses the use of agrichemicals, soil health, water availability and quality, and biodiversity. In the winery it addresses resource management, waste management and process management issues. The programme also promotes the well-being of staff, neighbours and the community.
The Sustainable Winegrowing NZ logo endorses wines produced from 100% accredited vineyard grapes, verifying
our commitment to environmentally responsible production.
We have 3ha of close planted vineyard which has been farmed as biodynamic for the last 12 months. From this learning we will slowly introduce the understanding to the whole vineyard. Our aim is to be biodynamic by 2012.escarpment.co.nz
As far as sprays are concerned we do not use insecticides or mitacides. Our fungicide programme complies with biodynamic principals with only the use of roundup as a herbicide excluding us from being biodynamic. We are experimenting with organic herbicides to eliminate roundup as well. When this has been achieved we should be ready for transitional biogrow status.
Water Conservation policies
All winery waste water is irrigated back onto the trees on the Escarpment including human effluent.
We irrigate our vines.
We have a very sophisticated water monitoring system which accurately measures the amount of soil moisture available to the plants so we do not use more water than necessary.
All our water supply is from our own bore or collected from the winery building. The winery operates on collected rain water and our irrigation from our own bore.
Recycling of dry goods
Our carton inners are recycled material (egg carton type cardboard). Other wise we use only locally made glass of lightweight construction, no screw caps!!!!, and recyclable tin capsules. All waste such as packaging, empty bottles cardboard etc is recycled through the local recycling depot.
Actions to neutralise carbon footprint
We only use locally produced light weight bottles. All inputs are NZ supplied where ever possible. No high volume outer packaging such as wood, plastic or metal.
We are planning a new winery building for 2010 which will include the latest energy saving ideas such as solar heating, insulation, recycling of heat from the refrigeration plant, passive heating and gravity feed wine so pumping is minimal. This building will be on top of an existing underground cellar which does not need artificial cooling or humidifying and allowing gravity to move wine between the 2 rooms.
We do not encourage or warm up the barrel room for malolactic fermentation preferring to wait until the barrel room warms up in spring.
We employ Kiribati islanders as part of our contact labour force. These people will eventually have to move from their homes (only 2m above sea level) and currently rely on aid from NZ and Australia.