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NZ's highest priced Pinot ready for release

PRESS RELEASE 30 October 2006

NZ's highest priced Pinot ready for release

In a landmark wine release for New Zealand, Martinborough Vineyard 'Marie Zelie' Reserve Pinot Noir 2003 will be released on November 1st this year.

General Manager of Martinborough Vineyard, Janine Tulloch, says "this wine carries the pedigree and quality to pave new roads forward for New Zealand Pinot Noir both in NZ and abroad."

The pricing sets a record for New Zealand Pinot Noir.

"While topping the charts on price here, this is a bargain in a world and quality perspective" says Janine Tulloch.

"This elegant, sophisticated and seamless wine is the finest reflection of Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir. As you would expect, it is very limited in volume, with only three barrels resulting in only 737 bottles" says Claire Mulholland, winemaker.

Marie Zelie is Reserve in style spending 18 months in selected French Oak Barriques. Although originally inspired by the oldest vines and best clones from an outstanding 2003 vintage, additional emphasis and selection now takes place in tiny parcels of these terrace blocks with the desire to produce this wine on an annual basis.

The little-known Marie Zelie was a genuine local wine pioneer, and her heritage is represented three generations later in the Martinborough Vineyard founding Milne family.

Marie Zelie Hermance Frere arrived in the Wairarapa region north of Martinborough with her husband William Beetham Jnr in 1882. To remind her of her French home, she planted vines. Within a decade she had more than 3000 grapevines (including Pinot Noir) on the family estate near Masterton and was making her own wine. A century later, Martinborough Vineyard founder Derek Milne married Marie Zelie's great-great-niece Margaret.

Soil scientist Derek Milne concluded in 1978 that Martinborough's climate was astonishingly similar to Burgundy. This vision created a new industry, and the small sleepy district became a unique wine village. The Martinborough Terrace appellation is now known internationally for its Pinot Noir, and Martinborough Vineyard is proud of its role in creating that distinction.

"Truly great wines carry their heritage proudly a great wine is more than superbly crafted flavours – it stands for past and present alike. Marie Zelie is the quintessential Pinot Noir, secure in its strong heritage and looking to a distinctive future" said Janine Tulloch.

The 2003 Marie Zelie Reserve Pinot Noir will be exclusively allocated to select customers and trade and is expected to retail at $180 per bottle.

ENDS

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