This is a tale of deception, daring, disaster…and deliverance.

It also features skinny sheep and wine robots.

It’s the story of Marlborough, the iconic New Zealand wine region which is celebrating its 50th wine birthday, after vines were planted by Frank Yukich in August 1973.

Yukich had risked personal financial ruin getting to this point. ‘Wines from here will become world famous!’ he declared. 

Shortly after which most of the vines died from drought.

But no adventure story is without its supreme setbacks. And this story features everything from the Queen to gut-rot via shiny tractors.

On the wine front, it’s sobering to think just how far Marlborough has come in 50 harvests, from a shaky start to sensational Sauvignon Blanc and much more besides. It’s a region helping set the global agenda for the wine of the future – and a tribute to the imaginative, resilient Kiwi spirit.

This is a sponsored episode in collaboration with New Zealand Winegrowers. 



  • Here’s a link to see the Appellation Marlborough Wine Map
  • You can find our podcast on all major audio players: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Amazon and beyond. The button below will redirect you automatically to this episode on an audio platform on your device.

Launch podcast on your device


Here are the Marlborough wines we taste in this episode. Click on the wine name for the Wine Searcher link to find where you can buy this wine around the world. Selected UK stockists are included where appropriate – often with the best price available:

Get in Touch!

We love to hear from you. 

You can send us an email. Or find us on social media (links below).

Or, better still, leave us a voice message via the magic of SpeakPipe: