Dry River vineyard was established in 1979 by Dr Neil and Dawn McCallum. In 2003 the vineyard and winery were sold to Julian Robertson and Reg Oliver with Neil staying at the helm as Chief Winemaker until his retirement in 2011. The name Dry River was that of one of the earliest South Wairarapa sheep stations. Although our vines are planted several kilometres away on the northern boundary of the Martinborough township, Dry River aptly describes the very arid, gravely and free-draining site. The first wines, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Pinot gris were bottled in 1984 and Dry River has since developed a reputation as one of New Zealand’s most iconic pioneering wineries.
Our goal is to produce wines of optimal phenolic ripeness with ripe fruit flavours and modest alcohol levels that faithfully reflect the site and vintage. Factors leading to a true expression of the vineyard site include no irrigation, old vines and low crop levels. Cultural management practices in the vineyard that help achieve optimal phenolic ripeness include shoot positioning, leaf plucking and maintenance applications of nutrients. We do not claim to farm in any particular fashion beyond what we believe is sustainable and optimal for our site.