The lower river terraces of the Dashwood area, at the sea end of the Awatere Valley, Marlborough, are the location of two of our Marlborough vineyards. Sea breezes reduce the peak summer heat and create cool nights during the ripening period and in the lead up to harvest. This allows for slower ripening of the grapes with plenty of time for full flavour development and retention of fine minerally acids.
Grant developed a strong interest in high-density planting systems, like those used in the world-famous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards of Burgundy, France, while at Lincoln University. By planting vines close together the yield per plant is reduced resulting in grapes with more intense flavour. In 1995, a scrubby isolated block of land on the lower river terraces at Dashwood in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough, came up for sale. Grant and Helen purchased the property with the specific objective of producing high quality wines using the high-density planting system. Vines were planted to a density of 4500 vines per hectare (compared to the conventional density of around 2000 vines per hectare) and the grapes were pruned to the traditional Burgundian system of a single Guyot or cane.
The 45 acre Awatere Vineyard has Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris vines that were planted in 1996 and 1999. A total of 20 acres have been planted so far, with additional plantings planned for in the future. The soils are very shallow, sandy and stony with a mudstone base and have resulted in vines with low growth potential that are easy to manage. An ideal soil type for high density planting systems because the vines do not express their full growth potential and turn into triffids!
Grant’s faith in the high-density planting system was rewarded when the first two vintages of the Pinot Noir were awarded two Trophies for Champion Pinot Noir at the most prestigious show in New Zealand, The Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The third vintage, not to be outdone, received the Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir at the Liquorland Top 100 International Wine Show.
The Pinot Noir wine has amassed a huge number of Trophies, Gold or 5 star ratings. We have been privileged to have four vintages of the Sauvignon Blanc served to passengers on Air New Zealand International Flights. All vintages of the Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines have received either silver medals, gold medals or five star reviews.
Our other Marlborough vineyard, the “Alma Vineyard” is also on the lower bank river terrace of the Awatere Valley, close to Clifford Bay Estate and Vavasour Wines. Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc vines are planted.
Click here to view our Banks Peninsula Vineyards
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