The largest wine-growing region in New Zealand lies on the north-eastern tip of South Island. The vineyards cover 11,488 hectares of vineyards in the wide valley of the Wairau River with the town of Blenheim in the centre. On the gravelly sandy soils with partly large stones on the surface, mainly the white wine varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling as well as Pinot Noir are cultivated. Due to the low rainfall and dry summers, artificial irrigation is necessary. In 1973, the wine multinational Montana planted vineyards here for the first time, thus opening up the viticulture on the South Island.