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Wine, dreams & Martinborough musings-a chat with Clive Paton

Introduction

As the seasons merge & the drought summer of 2014/15 becomes a balmy Autumn - with the current focus on grape harvesting in our idyllic village.......we bring you a series of interviews with local identities. Our aim is to share the diversity of Martinborough's people & to bring you frank insights into their perspective of the Martinborough community & culture.
Kicking off the series is a chat with Clive Paton, well known local identity & founder of Ata Rangi vineyard.
A renowned Martinborough winery Ata Rangi has been around since the early 80's & has a great story to tell....for the full story, visit their website here:
http://www.atarangi.co.nz/our-story.html

But for now we present you with a brief glimpse into the man behind the wine.....so pour yourself a pinot (Ata Rangi of course!) sit back, curl up, sip, savour, scroll down...& enjoy our chat with Clive.

A brief chat with Clive

MV: Ata Rangi vineyard was a dream which you made a reality, what led you to follow this dream?

C: I've always held a strong interest in red wine, but couldn't get enough of it, or buy enough of the good stuff. In 1978, there was a DSIR report done by Derek Milne, which drew comparisons with Martinborough's microclimate to that of Burgundy. And I knew what I was going to do for the rest of my life. So I sold my herd of cows in 1980 and bought a paddock. Pretty tough going in the early years, and I said I'd give myself a decade to see if I could make it work. But here I still am 35 years on.

MV: How has Martinborough changed over the years since you established Ata Rangi?

C: Hugely. As I say, I bought a paddock in 1980 – and that's pretty much what the whole of Martinborough was. The 'town' stopped a short walk in any direction from the Square.

But in a way, things are the same. We still have the old town and it still feels like the old Martinborough in some respects, particularly the first part of Kitchener being turned into a really nice precinct, but with renovation rather than replacement. There's a great mix of interesting people from all walks of life, some of whom are weekenders, some are farmers, business owners, but also retirees who are very much part of the community. And, of course, a pretty colourful bunch involved in the wine industry too…

MV: You're a passionate conservationist, having been appointed an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit in 2012, and recipient of the Loder Cup (NZ's oldest conservation award) recently. What inspires you to follow this passion?

C: It's simply a love of NZ & its flora and fauna. Awareness that a lot of the initial drive has to come from the community to make things happen, so you have get stuck in and do it if you want to see change. I have had mentors and people who have inspired me to do what I do, and it's a continuation of what they've achieved.

MV:
Three things you love most about Martinborough?

1/ Great climate - vibrant, with vigorous nature, incredible skies
2/ A town small enough to be inclusive and caring about what it is and the people in it
3/ It's a great place to make fantastic wine.

MV: Where do you see Martinborough heading in the future?

C: Similar to how it's been progressing in the past few decades really, but fingers crossed that development happens in the right areas. We must protect our vineyard areas – we're small but very important in the context of the wine world. I can see further enhancement of the Kitchener St colonial style. I think we'll need to view ourselves even more as a wine tourism town and do everything we can to facilitate it, continually improving the service offering.

MV: Lastly any messages for the Martinborough community?

C:What a great place to live. And work. And make wine!
- Clive Paton 29/3/15

Acknowledgements & pictorial

Thanks to Clive for giving the opening interview in the MV Autumn blog series.
We thoroughly enjoyed our chat & endorse the view that Martinborough retains & develops the "tourist town" theme moving into the future as a well established wine region.
Wine is not all Martinborough is about (of course), but is of huge importance to the regions economy & sustainability. We can all support the region by shopping locally, participating in local events & ensuring we are inclusive as a community.
And of course there's that world class wine!
To close let's just top up our Pinot Noir.....sit back, reflect & enjoy this stunning Ata rangi pictorial, by talented photographer Pete Monk. While we're at it, let's raise our glasses & drink to Martinborough.

The MV team
"showing you the magic of our special town"
click this link for more info on Ata Rangi:
http://www.martinborough-village.co.nz/page/Ata_Rangi/