The 2016 vintage selection from the Gimblett Gravels, in New Zealand's Hawke's Bay

The 2016 vintage was a good one in the Gimblett Gravels. It was just a touch cooler than average (GDDs 1430 as opposed to an LTA of 1500), but it was a bit drier (growing season rainfall 340 mm versus an average of 463 mm). Since 2008 a selection of 12 wines has been made, […]

Wellington Wine Country (2) Ata Rangi, one of New Zealand's top wineries

Martinborough pioneer Ata Rangi is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated wineries, and so I was quite excited to be able to catch up with winemaker Helen Masters to taste through recent releases. Helen had just got back from the UK the day before, so it was very cool that she rocked up to conduct […]

Wellington Wine Country, NZ (1) Dry River

I first visited Martinborough just over eight years ago, and now I was back. Part of the Wairarapa, it has been an important region for Pinot Noir in New Zealand, but of late has flown under the radar a bit. Martinborough itself is a lovely place to spend some time. It’s incredibly compact, and you […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (9) Trinity Hill's Homage Syrah

Trinity Hill planted their first Syrah in the Gimblett Gravels in 1995, using cuttings from Stonecroft, a clone known as Mass Selection. The first vintage was 1997. The current releases also include some vines grown from cuttings that came from Jaboulet in the Northern Rhône. The first version of prestige cuvéeHomage was made in 2002, […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (8) De La Terre

Tony Prichard, De La Terre

De La Terre is a Hawke’s Bay gem, and it’s the project of Tony and Kaye Prichard. Both started their careers as food technologists. For a long time, Tony was head winemaker for Church Road (1990-2005), but it went through a couple of corporate ownership changes and the feel of […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (7) Clearview Estate

Matt Kirby is an Aussie winemaker who previously worked in the Clare Valley. But he migrated to New Zealand is now the winemaker at Clearview Estate in Hawke’s Bay. His first vintage was 2015. I visited with him on a beautiful spring Hawke’s Bay day.

Matt Kirby

Clearview was established by Tim Turvey and is based […]

Two superb Central Otago Pinot Noirs from Akitu

A relatively new arrival on the Central Otago Pinot circuit is Akitu. Andrew Donaldson planted this vineyard in Wanaka back in 2002 on old schist, and the wines are made at Maude under the watch of consultant winemaker PJ Charteris. First release was 2012. It’s solely a Pinot Noir project, and just two wines are made […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (6) Paritua


Paritua is an impressive property, with a state-of-the-art winery and a sizeable 54 hectares of vineyards surrounding it, based in the Bridge Pa district of Hawke’s Bay. The vineyard was planted in 2003 and 2004 by the original owners, Brianne and Gary Fisher.

The vineyards are currently in conversion to organics. The soils are the typical […]

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (5) Sileni and their Pinot Noirs

Cairn Coghill, winemaker, Sileni

It’s all change at Sileni, which has just been bought by New Zealand financial service company Booster. Booster have also recently purchased Waimea Estate (Nelson) and Bannockbrae (Central Otago), and have an investment in Awatere River. Sileni grew significantly over the last years and now make a lot of Marlborough Sauvignon. […]

Pictures from the Marlborough Wine Show Dinner

So I’m in Blenheim, acting as one of the judges at the Marlborough Wine Show. Last night we had the judge’s dinner at Arbour, and it was a splendid occasion. Everyone bought a bottle of decent wine, and we shared great food, wine and company. I took a few pictures of events, including snaps of […]