Marlborough is New Zealand's largest and best known wine region producing 79% of New Zealand’s total wine production. The region currently has 23,600 hectares of land planted with grapes. The free-draining, sandy loams over gravel subsoil in the Wairau and Awatere River valleys provide ideal growing conditions. Sauvignon Blanc is the most planted grape variety; Chardonnay second, followed by Pinot Noir, Riesling and Méthode Traditionelle sparkling wines. The distinctive fresh, vibrant citrus and herbaceous flavours of the first Marlborough wines, in particular Sauvignon Blanc, captured the attention of the international wine community and soon sparked the boom in vineyard development. More recently, the southern side valleys of the Wairau Valley – Fairhall, Hawkesbury and Waihopai –are also building an excellent reputation for quality wines.