Our Story

Escarpment's aim is simple: to continually produce the very best of tomorrow's definitive New World wines.

Escarpment Vineyard Team Photo

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.

 

In July 2019 Torbreck Vintners from the Barossa Valley acquired Escarpment. Along with gaining great relationships and knowledge from the team at Torbreck, this partnership has allowed Escarpment to complete our long-term aspirations of building a state-of-the-art winery. The new 880m2 build is set to be complete in time for the 2022 vintage. It is fully insulated, gravity fed to the existing underground barrel room and equipped with modern winemaking technology. 

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.  

 

 

 The Legend of Kupe

Winery shot

 

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.

Respect and care for our land lead us to move our vineyards to organic certification status in 2019, an achievement we hold dearly. Read more about our organic approach and sustainable winemaking here.