From 1970, a second period is characterised by the rise of Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay. By 1980, both Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay each had twice the area in vines of the Auckland region. Gisborne’s growth resulted from Montana Wines continuing its aggressive expansion by letting contracts for landowners to grow grapes. Corbans and Penfolds were quick to respond by arranging contracts with other landholders in Gisborne. A series of well-established, but smaller, Auckland-based wine companies – such as Babich, Nobilo and Matua Valley – followed the larger companies and sourced grapes from these new regions.
Figure 3.3 1960s dispersal of vineyards owned by Corbans, Montana, and Penfolds to urban peripheral land on the northwestern and southern fringe of Auckland
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A similar sequence, with some different companies participating, occurred in Hawke’s Bay. Existing local firms also influenced its growth by enlarging their holdings. McWilliam’s Wines, the Australian company that began operating in New Zealand in 1947, continued to expand its Hawke’s Bay vineyards in the 1960s and 1970s. Other firms that had been established earlier, such as McDonald’s Wines and Glenvale Wines, also increased their vineyard area from the 1960s. During the same period a number of smaller firms also established there.
Growth in the North Island regions was soon rivalled by new developments in Marlborough, with Montana Wines again at the forefront. In the early 1970s, Frank
Yukich, the managing director of Montana, had decided that Marlborough was a region that offered strong environmental opportunities for grape growing in New Zealand. In this decision he was influenced by Wayne Thomas, formerly a government plant scientist, by now in charge of national viticulture for Montana. Some limited scientific evidence – more to convince the Montana board than to provide definitive judgement -supported these views.
Grapes were first planted there in the winter of 1973. Despite the heavy losses of young vines over the first summer, the quality of the grapes quickly established that Marlborough was a region of unusual potential. Between 1975 and 1980, Marlborough’s area in vines increased more rapidly than anywhere else, and by 1990 it had a slightly
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