Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


TK breaks new ground in Martinborough

One of New Zealand's most remote wine villages is having a new lease of life. Martinborough is a 90 minute drive from the windy capital city and its hospitality offerings have evolved in both subtle and ground breaking ways over the past four years, in tandem with growing visitor numbers. 

The new Runholder eatery, wine cellar and gin distillery is the newest on the restaurant horizon in this small village. Situated on the edge of the compact village, it breaks new ground in design with majestic views over the western hills that flank Martinborough and its capacity at 100+ makes it more than double all other existing offerings in the small town.

The Runholder is a restaurant, tasting room, cellar door, gin distillery and has new barrel hall space that makes life and cellar work significantly easier for winemaker John Kavanagh. Impressive architecture with large glass walls offers commanding views over some of the most breath taking beauty in the region, nestled on a run of land, if you'll excuse the pun, on the Te Kairanga vineyard - a piece of land originally owned by Martinborough pioneer, John Martin.

It is now the largest cellar door restaurant in Martinborough and has outstanding views, incredibly fresh produce and great food served alongside wines that are mostly from the Te Kairanga winery, with two outstanding sparkling wines that also celebrate the role that great Pinot Noir plays in some of the world's best wines. These are Quartz Reef Brut NV from Central Otago (70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and aged on lees for two years, typically) made by Rudi Bauer. And Champagne Taittinger; also a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 

The flagship wines of Te Kairanga are Pinot Noirs; John Martin, Runholder and an estate Pinot Noir all fly the flag for the leading grape variety and wine from Martinborough.

Wine of the week

2022 Te Kairanga Runholder Pinot Noir RRP $30.99

Earthy aromas pay homage to the great structure of outstanding Pinot Noir and at an affordable price. I love the layers of red and dark cherry flavours that are supported in this structured, silky Pinot with its long finish. 

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