Ata Mara is a small New Zealand estate dedicated to producing hand crafted elegant and appealing Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines from Central Otago in the South Island. Husband and wife David Pratt and Janiene Bayliss started the venture 20 years ago as part of a leisurely retirement plan, possibly without realizing the work involved! The vineyards extend to 20 hectares, on the terraces between Lake Dunstan and Mount Pisa, due east of Milford Sound and Queenstown if you’re lucky enough to have visited the area. This is the most southerly point on the planet that grapes are grown commercially but the conditions are perfect for cool climate varietals like Pinot. The land is flat with low fertility alluvial sandy soils interspersed with extensive gravel pans rising to the surface across much of the vineyards. Hot days in the valley countered by cool nights, followed critically by a cool autumn, ensure slow ripening of these most fickle of varietals, and a resulting quality to rival Burgundy.