Inheriting a Legacy

We are pleased to introduce ourselves as the newly appointed Dry River team. This changing of the guard has come with great excitement (and nerves), as we understand the responsibility of becoming custodians of one of New Zealand’s heritage brands.

You will have heard from the Roberston family regarding their decision to sell the vineyard after having been a part of the story for the past 20 years.

Dry River has returned to New Zealand ownership, purchased by Wellington businessman Charlie Zheng who is deeply committed to honouring the Dry River heritage and its pioneering tradition.

We look forward to connecting with you and sharing our vision of the future for Dry River, which will remain focused on producing wines of uncompromising quality and character achieved through dedication from vine to glass. Thank you for your unwavering support over the past 40 years – and here’s to 40 more.

Newly appointed winemaker Ben McNab looks forward to building upon the legacy of forty years of grape growing and winemaking at the iconic Martinborough vineyard. In his words, he’s “come full circle”, having first encountered Dry River wines working retail at Moore Wilson in Wellington during his university days, eventually landing a summer job in the Dry River vineyards. This opportunity deepened his passion for viticulture-led winemaking.

Ben – formerly from Palliser Estate – was named the 2021 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year was worried he would have to leave the region to get a chance like this.

As a third-generation farmer in the Wairarapa, he has a vineyard-led approach that is respectful of the traditions he inherits.

“Martinborough doesn’t make bulk wine – it’s low yield, high quality, fine wine. You don’t make these quality wines from behind a desk – it’s a high-touch approach based on a very close relationship with the wine.”

Our team is excited to carry on sharing the history of Dry River and our vision for its future with our loyal members who may be visiting Martinborough. Until we have settled into our new home, we have decided to temporarily stop hosting tours and tastings at the winery. We’d still love to hear from you, so please don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any queries.