Wel, can you imagine that?


A high-profile Wakatipu resident’s four-year-old label has been listed among the top 100 wineries in the world.

Mark Weldon’s Terra Sancta winery, at Bannockburn, near Cromwell, joins Wanaka’s Rippon as the only New Zealand brands in the prestigious US-based Wine & Spirits Magazine’s annual Top 100 Wineries in the World list.

The MediaWorks’ CEO and NZX’s former boss is blown away.

“Some of the brands on the list are so famous and so old - to be a part of a list with names like Krug from Champagne, Guigal from the Rhone, Joseph Drouhin from Burgundy, Quinta do Noval from Port and Domaine Zind-Humbrecht from Alsace is seriously humbling.”

Weldon bought Olssens and a neighbouring vineyard in 2011 and renamed it Terra Sancta or ‘sacred earth’.

The following year, he and his wife, Terra Sancta co-founder Sarah Eliott, left Wellington to settle near Arrowtown.

Weldon says he’d hoped to make the Top 100 list after 20 years.

“But after four is a bit hard to comprehend.”

He adds: “To have two of the top 100 wineries in the world from this region is quite incredible for Central Otago’s reputation for wine, and for both Queenstown’s growing reputation as a destination for food and wine tourism and for our region’s exports.”

Eliott believes the recognition reflects the quality of their vineyards and the soundness of their approach - “which is to only make wine from vineyards we farm, and to make each wine, year after year, from the same block”.

“This philosophy extends to all Terra Sancta wines, from our single block pinot noirs to our award-winning rose.”

Selection for the list is based on tasting wines from 16,600 wineries from around the world.