Larry McKenna – otherwise known as Larry McPinot – is the man behind Escarpment, having founded it in 1999. Larry and his team now work closely with Australian wine estate Torbreck, who purchased the estate in 2019, to ensure the continued success of the wines. Larry remains head winemaker, bringing his award-winning approach to each vintage.
The vineyards are sited above a natural escarpment sitting 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 image takes pride of place on every Escarpment label. Escarpment is registered as a Sustainable NZ producer and is currently following a five-year plan to become organically certified.
After over 21 years’ winemaking experience in Martinborough, his name synonymous with NZ Pinot Noir, Larry is now recognised as defining the terroir of the region with his exciting range of single vineyard wines. In his understated way, Larry told us, ‘I was awarded the George Fistonich medal by the NZ International Wine Show. It’s one of those lifetime achievement things you get when you have been around too long.’
In the press
June 2017: Larry McKenna showcasing the class of Martinborough Pinot Roger Jones, The Buyer
June 2017: Pinot man’s land – New Zealand Escarpment Christine Austin, The Yorkshire Post