At Totara, winemaker Matthew Ward combines terroir-driven winemaking with the natural grandeur of Marlborough to create sustainable expressions of the New Zealand landscape—allowing consumers to fully embrace the mentality and flavors of the region.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration with our partner, Totara.

The Totara wine brand, a project between Opici Wines and Joval Family Wines in Marlborough, started as a joint venture to make world class wines for the U.S. market that are intrinsically New Zealand in nature. Along the way, it has also become a force for promoting positive environmental action on the South Island and beyond. 

The brand takes its name from New Zealand’s native totara tree. Revered by the indigenous Māori tribes, the tree is known for its ability to grow over 100 feet tall and live for a full 1,000 years. It’s also known for the lightness of its lumber. Historically, totara logs were carved to create incredibly light canoes that were over 40 meters long and capable of carrying up to 100 paddlers.

Totara’s vineyards in the spring. Photo courtesy of Totara.

With that same mentality, Totara creates traditional, long-lasting New Zealand wines with a focus on Sauvignon Blanc. Honest grape varieties like Sauvignon Blanc do not allow for heavy-handed winemaking or alterations; the wines always tell the story of their origins. Totara winemaker Matthew Ward crafts a terroir-expressive Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that differs from the traditional zippy style. The wine ages on its lees in large wood barrels, which adds noticeable weight and balance to the wine. And by using carefully selected parcels of sustainably grown fruit, the wine is also environmentally friendly.

From the vineyard to the winery, sustainability is at the heart of all that Totara does. Herbicide usage is minimal in order to cultivate healthy topsoil; water usage is monitored and kept in check with regional benchmarking laws; plant protection occurs through canopy management and chemical tracking; packaging continues to get lighter in an effort to lessen greenhouse gas emissions associated with shipping; and Totara aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.

As of November 2022, Totara is also a Sapling Program Partner with the National Forest Foundation, meaning that for every 10 cases sold, one tree is planted. This program is a critical part of the foundation’s campaign to plant 50 million trees across national forests. With a tree as the brand’s inspiration, the partnership represents a natural extension of Totara’s core values.

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The 2022 Totara Sauvignon Blanc is now available stateside. With 100 percent Marlborough-grown fruit and native yeasts, the wine is an elegant expression of Marlborough’s terroir, with snow peas, ripe stone fruit, and citrus blossom on the nose and palate, and a long, mineral finish.

With an eye on the future and a strong sense of place, Totara’s wines allow consumers to fully embrace the mentality and flavors of Marlborough.