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In 1989, John and Vivienne Phipps purchased a block of land on the now-famous Martinborough terraces. Together with their daughters, the Phipps family lovingly planted several thousand vines by hand; this being the beginning of Ashwell Vineyards.

The vineyard was expanded in 1991, to its current size of approximately 10 acres, small enough to remain a true boutique vineyard. The vines are tended mostly by hand (including harvesting), ensuring high quality grapes and wines. All wines are created with grapes grown on their own vineyards.

The majority of vines are Pinot Noir, the specialty wine of the region. Their Pinot Noir is regional-styled and a past gold medal winner at the prestigious Air New Zealand Wine Awards. They also produce a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon.

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