'Marlborough, one of the worlds most perfect wine regions'
In 1994, Hans identified a piece of land a long way from home in Marlborough, one of the sunniest and driest climates in New Zealand. The arid sandy and gravelly soils on the right bank of the Wairau River reminded him of the Médoc region in Bordeaux with its late ripening Cabernet, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. This river creates a special microclimate and the free draining soils make it one of the warmest and most valuable blocks in Marlborough.
Exceptional sunshine hours, extended dry and mild autumns, coupled with Hans' meticulous vineyard management and remarkably low yields, enable even late-ripening varieties to reach ideal physiological ripeness.
The substantial diurnal temperature variations, with nights often more than 10ºC cooler than the sunny days, preserve natural acidity in the grapes and yield extraordinarily intense varietal character. These vibrant, succulent ripe fruit flavours not only establish this region as one of the world's finest but also provide Hans all the elements for pioneering new grape varieties.
SOIL COMPOSITION & MICROCLIMATE
Transported by the neighbouring Wairau River, eroded minerals from the rocks of its catchment were deposited as exceptional free-draining layers of mostly stony alluvial soils. Deep layers of shingle and low clay content together with stony and sandy loam top soil retain and reflect the sun’s heat. The deposits vary enormously, not even consistent within a row of vines thus allowing us to match each grape variety to its ideal soil type in the vineyard.
During the ripening period of the grapes, the stones and gravel in the mostly dry riverbed soak up the sun’s heat, which the hot prevailing north-westerly wind already pushes directly onto the vineyard. This warms up not only the grapes, but the stones in the vineyard, which slowly radiates heat onto the vines during the cool nights. This extra heat helps to achieve the perfect physiological ripeness, even for our late ripening grape varieties. In spring, the higher water levels warm the air around the vineyard and naturally protect from frost. Our remarkable location and the nearby geographical phenomena contributes to our unique microclimate perfect for growing grapes.