Ram Paddock Road, North Canterbury
Situated over terraces on the Waipara River valley, downriver of dinosaur and moa fossils and sheltered by Mounts Grey and Brown, Waipara West is wild, beautiful and ideal for wine. Different sites and soils give variety and character to the grapes, and care is taken to ensure their excellent condition with hand-harvesting in autumn and year-round vineyard care from the permanent team. Planting started in 1989 and there are now some 60 north-facing sun-drenched acres. Further inland and higher than existing Waipara vineyards, the microclimate is hotter and less frost-prone because of the natural air movement caused by the river and sloping terraces. The harshness of the environment and the low fertility of the soil ensure that yields are extremely low.
In the winery, the team take their lead from the fruit to produce the most distinctive wines possible each year. Emphasis is always on flavour, as an expression of the boldness of New Zealand’s terrain and specifically their patch of river valley. Unoaked whites are bright and racy - Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling - and the oaked chardonnay is subtle and complex. Reds are rich, earthy and full of fruit. Because the yields for all varieties are low the wines are generally intense and have an inherent structure.