The Launch of the Wine Map of Marlborough

wine map of marlborough (c)MarlboroughWineMapCollective2023


Appellation Marlborough Wine (AMW) is excited to announce the launch of the Wine Map of Marlborough, a beautifully designed reference tool that delineates the Marlborough wine growing region for the first time.

It has been fifty years since the first commercial vineyards were planted in Marlborough, with significant growth occurring and vines now occupying around 30,000 hectares. “Naturally, subregions with distinct microclimates and stylistic features have been identified over this time,” says John Buchanan, AMW chair. “And the Wine Map of Marlborough represents the first genuine attempt to map these in a detailed way.”

AMW is a member-led organisation established in 2018 to protect the integrity, authenticity and brand value of wines produced within its region.

The map project was driven by the Marlborough Wine Map Collective (MWMC), a team of five AMW members including Simon Waghorn of Astrolabe, Matt Thomson and Sophie Parker-Thomson MW of Blank Canvas, Ivan Sutherland of Dog Point, Brian Bicknell of Mahi and Brendan Neylon of Rapaura Springs. “We robustly debated and defined the current subregional hierarchy of Marlborough,” says Matt Thomson.

Over a two-year period, the ensemble worked in consultation with Wellington based cartographer Roger Smith of Geographx and local designer Megan Boreham of Eye Catcher Designs.

“The resulting ‘Wine Map of Marlborough’ is a vital resource in understanding the subregional detail and diversity of Marlborough,” says John. “We look forward to making it available to a wider audience, including industry colleagues, wine educators, and engaged consumers.”

Co-owners of Blank Canvas, who championed the development of the wine map, say that Marlborough winemakers have been talking about subregional identity for a long time. “We have, however, lacked the key tool to be able to communicate it effectively to our audience.” says Matt. “Without a universal and accurate map the default is a dangerous assumption that Marlborough is all the same. We know that is definitely not the case and we know this map will now enable everyone to start a more nuanced journey to understand sub-regionality and quality within our diverse region.”

The first edition of the Wine Map of Marlborough is a start in engendering greater understanding in the detail of Appellation Marlborough. “Marlborough’s hugely diverse soils, micro-climates and ultimately terroirs, mean producers can craft wildly different expressions of sauvignon blanc here,” says Matt. “The vision is that wine enthusiasts will be able to use the map to pinpoint the subregional style they desire, whether that be the lemongrass-accented Blind River, passionfruit and blackcurrant-driven Dillons Point, or elderflower and white currant expression of Condors Bend. And there are many more.”

“We are incredibly grateful to the Marlborough Wine Map Collective for bringing this stunning and comprehensive map to fruition,” says Simon Barker, AMW committee member. “It had become abundantly clear that Marlborough needed to document its wine growing subregions and regional subsets. They are key aspects of our winemaking pedigree and provide context and definition to our diverse wine region.”

“Marlborough’s rapid success and market growth has occurred this past half century without any real controls in place, and certainly not the regulations the appellations and wines of Europe must comply with to protect the provenance, quality and value of their products,” says Matt. “This situation has conjured up a dangerous tipping point where the dilution of the brand value of Marlborough is occurring because of the dilution of the product itself.”

“The Marlborough Wine Map is an important step in creating some guidelines and understanding around our variegated region,” says Simon. “The Marlborough appellation can not and should not be simplified to the provincial boundary, we must take a lead from pioneering wine regions who’ve defined their land by geology and geography.”

Marlborough wine displaying the AMW icon on their label provide consumers with an assurance of origin and authenticity. “These wines have been certified as a true expression of our region and contain 100% pure Marlborough fruit. This is an integral mark. A mark of integrity.” says John. “The Marlborough Wine Map supports AMW’s efforts of promoting quality Marlborough wine and clearly illustrates the importance and interest of origin.”



Click here to learn more about the Marlborough Wine Map collective, the evolution of its design and the incentives behind its development. The Marlborough Wine Map will be available for purchase direct from Appellation Marlborough Wine with profits returned to the Marlborough Wine Map Collective for research and development.


Appellation Marlborough Wine™ was established in 2018 with a strict certification process that the region’s producers are able to apply for. AMW is trademarked in all key global wine markets and it is the legal recognition that sets it apart from other new world certification practices.

Wines bearing the Appellation Marlborough Wine (AMW) quality mark provide consumers the following guarantees:

ORIGIN – Wines are made from grapes that are 100% sourced from Marlborough. 

AUTHENTICITY – Wines must be bottled in New Zealand.

INTEGRITY – All Wines are tasted blind and approved by an independent expert panel as being a true expression of its region and varietal.

SUSTAINABILITY – Vineyards are certified by a recognised sustainable viticulture scheme. 


Amanda McRae | AMW Administrator

Facebook & Instagram | @appellationmarlboroughwine  

Twitter | @amwinenz

#AskforAMW #AMWine

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