Winemaker's Comment - Spring 2018


It’s always exciting to be releasing the Rieslings in spring as they abound with such vibrant aromatics and flavours that are reminiscent of the change in season. This year they are particularly bright and intense, supported with their trademark racy acidity, while possessing great depth and length. We’ve been eager to see the style and potential quality of the wines due to the very warm summer we experienced in 2018. As we had hoped and predicted, the cool and wet February really was the saviour to the growing season and the 2018 Rieslings are as good as any we have ever made. This is reassuring for the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that are still quietly resting in barrel, slowly awakening after their cold winter in the cellars. It’s difficult to really ascertain what the vintage has provided at this early stage for them, but the breath-taking quality of the Rieslings certainly bodes well.

Many of you may have read about Annabel Bulk, our assistant viticulturist, who recently won the national Young Viticulturist of the Year Award. Annabel has been working with us since 2012 and after winning the Central Otago Young Viticulturist for the last two years; we were delighted when she took the national crown:  only the second time the competition has been won by a woman. It’s also the second time that we have fostered a national winner, which is no mean feat for a small vineyard enterprise like ours. It highlights the intensity of our viticulture programme, not to mention the skill and dedication of our viticulturist Gareth King, that we can groom such talent amongst our team. This focus and attention to detail in the vineyard helps set us apart. They have a tougher job than I do because they are dealt the randomness of weather, but still have to deliver me fine, balanced fruit.                      

A recent trip away had me in Western Canada, France and London. In Canada, I was pouring our wines to the trade and consumers amongst 20 other high profile wineries from around the globe. It is immensely satisfying to be in a room showing your wines amongst such esteemed regions, wineries and colleagues. In Paris, our French importer was also showing off their portfolio of global wines. What a thrill, to be right next to the Arc de Triomphe, pouring  Felton Road to over 500 French sommeliers and wine trade professionals. Naturally, we don’t expect to sell a huge amount of wine in France (although we do surprisingly well!), but the fact that we are eagerly sought after and positioned in prestigious restaurants and retail in the historic home of fine wine, felt pretty cool.  In London, Nigel and I celebrated our 21stvintage release with some exclusive tastings for journalists and the wine trade. We reflected on the changes and developments we have been slowing making, which was plainly evident to all in the vertical tastings we presented. I look forward to gradually chipping away at fine-tuning our quality and style before we have another milestone to celebrate in four years time.   In the meantime, please enjoy our latest works!


Blair Walter