Early settler William Beetham held extensive land holdings in the Wairarapa Valley and planted carefully sourced classic French Rhone Valley and Burgundy originating vinis vinifera cuttings of Hermitage (Syrah) and Pinot around his Lansdowne Homestead in Masterton in the early 1880's. These classic grapevines flourished and he then moved them to a vineyard of about six acres which he established nearby, in a vale within the valley, on the bank of the Ruamahunga river. This became the first successful commercial vineyard in the Wairarapa.

In 1998 Margaret and Derek Hagar bought land on the west bank of the Ruamahanga River which was part of the original Lansdowne Estate. The terrain with its dry climate, cool nights and long hot sunny days with stony, clay over limestone soil compare favorably with any in the world for the cultivation of Burgundian wines. After several years of hard struggle in the stony, free-draining soil Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Syrah were again established at Lansdowne. The six acres planted are about the same size as the original vineyard. They may well be on, or very near to the original site, being less than a kilometer from the original homestead.

 

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