Pencarrow Wines are named after the Pencarrow Lighthouse on the south Wairarapa coast, which was tended by the first female lighthouse keeper in New Zealand, Mary Jane Bennett in the late 1800s

It is one of the biggest wineries in one of New Zealand’s smallest wine regions and now Palliser Estate has announced a new direction, new labels for its Pencarrow range and a new chief winemaker.

The Martinborough winery launched its new look labels last week. This followed hot on the heels of the announcement last month that chief winemaker Allan Johnston was departing after 28 years at the helm of this winery; one of the first in the tiny wine region. His experienced shoes will be filled by Guy McMaster, who will also work as viticulturist, tending the vines as well as making the wine.

The new look is for the Pencarrow range of wines. This is the name of the winery’s entry level wines. It pays tribute to the south coast of the Wairarapa region and the famous Pencarrow Lighthouse there. It also pays homage to the late  Mary Jane Bennett, whose lighthouse keeper husband died in 1855, leaving her to raise their five children alone and run the lighthouse herself. This was a first for a woman in New Zealand in those early days of the country’s pioneering history. She held the position for 10 years. 

Palliser Estate Winery CEO Pip Goodwin says she hopes wine lovers will continue to relish the Pencarrow wines with the added bonus of understanding the history of the extraordinary woman behind the lighthouse of the same name.