Wairarapa Wine Trip – Saturday, 13 February

44 people are booked to go to on this trip, which includes a tasting and then lunch at Coney Wines.

If you are one of that 44 and can no longer go, it is imperative that you text or ring Gayl on 021 040 6244 and let her know before this weekend as Coneys are seeking urgent confirmation of our numbers.

Once we do that, any subsequent cancellation is unlikely to result in a refund.
Sadly, Palliser Estate is no longer part of our itinerary as they want to focus on the operation of their new restaurant which adjoins their tasting area, much like what we will experience at Coney Wines.

Updated details including times and the replacement winery will be emailed to everyone early next month, if not beforehand.

Palliser Estate

Grave Wines

alana wines

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Wairarapa trip – Saturday, 13 February

Tim Coney of Coney Wines in Martinborough. Photo: Loren Dougan/Fairfax media.
Tim Coney of Coney Wines in Martinborough. Photo: Loren Dougan/Fairfax media.

As mentioned in September, the trip we had to postpone earlier this year is back on for Saturday, 13 February next year and it promises to be a great day.

To enable us to finalise the arrangements and ensure we have a big enough bus, we now need all members to read the following and then email Wayne to confirm your status for the new date.

The club is holding the payments of most of those members who’d committed to going this year (ie, those who didn’t request a refund) and of course, we welcome other members who are now in a position to join the trip.

So please email Wayne by Friday, 11 December, and advise him of one of the following options, along with all applicable names.

  1. I/we booked and paid for the March trip and will also be coming in February 2021.
  2. I/we booked and paid for the March trip but are unable to come in February 2021 so would ask you to arrange a refund.
  3. I/we were not on the list for the March trip but would now like to be added.
  4. I/we were not on the list for the March trip and will not be attending in February 2021.

Please note that if you are C, you will also need to deposit $75 into the club’s bank account 06 0541 0056031 00 before 24 December.

We plan to follow the same timetable as we’d planned for last March to save you searching your inboxes. This document is just to refresh your memory – we’ll update it closer to the date when the train times for that period are confirmed. It’s also likely that we’ll be visiting a different winery to Palliser, as they are now focusing on their new restaurant, rather than tastings. Details to follow.

Palliser Estate

Grave Wines

alana wines

Come along for a fun day and help wrap up the club’s 40th birthday celebrations in style!

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Vintage 2020 New Zealand statistics

After each vintage season, New Zealand Winegrowers surveys members and compiles vintage data snapshots for the industry.

NZ Wine Vintage Indicators by Region 2020

The total volume of grapes harvested and tonnage by wine region in 2020

NZ Wine Vintage Indicators by Variety 2020

The total volume of grapes harvested and percentage change on last year by key wine varieties.

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Next Chapter for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Courtney Schiessl  VinePair| October 21, 2020

The next chapter for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is anything but traditional.

Few wines have a stronger signature style than New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Since the grape was first planted in 1975, it has become a sensation among U.S. wine drinkers — not only for its crisp character and zingy acidity but for its sheer reliability. Even without cracking the screw cap, it’s a safe bet that any given bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand will be youthful and refreshing, with fresh citrus and grassy, herbaceous notes.

“Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is truly unique and always identifiable in a lineup of Sauvignon Blancs from around the world,” says Jules Taylor, owner and winemaker of her eponymous Marlborough winery. But, she says, “it is not all the same.” Today’s producers are increasingly intent on showcasing that there’s more to Sauvignon Blanc — and to New Zealand in general — than its stylistic stereotype. Untraditional vinification techniques like barrel ageing and wild fermentation, offbeat sweet and sparkling wines, and regional distinctions outside of Marlborough are all proving that New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has the potential to be an even more diverse category in the future.

Pioneers of Experimentation

and insanely flavorful NEW ZEALAND WINE

Over the 40 years since Sauvignon Blanc really took off in New Zealand’s vineyards, winemakers have worked to understand the adopted variety. “Our treatment of Sauvignon Blanc has changed and evolved enormously, both in the vineyards and in the wineries,” says Craig Anderson, the winemaker at Hillersden Wines in Marlborough, who has worked in the country’s wine industry for 23 years. Today, most New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is produced to highlight aromatics and acidity, using techniques like mechanical harvesting, fermentation at very low temperatures using commercial yeasts, and clarification and bottling as early as possible.

But this signature style also stems from the natural attributes of the grape’s main production hub: Marlborough, home to nearly 89 per cent of the country’s Sauvignon Blanc. Plentiful sunshine, cool temperatures, and moderating maritime influence shape the intensely aromatic, yet piercingly acid-driven style of the wines.

“For a long time, only the ‘classic’ style was being produced,” says Taylor. “That fresh, vibrant, juicy-acidity style. [It’s] the wine that put Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on the world wine map.” These wines garnered international attention for their unique and distinctive character — a zingy, fresh style unmatched elsewhere — and wineries worked to meet that demand.

Similarly, the rise in new styles of Sauvignon Blanc is partially in response to current market demands. “There’s a thirst for more diversity and complexity from consumers, and also recognition from Marlborough winemakers that the style needs to continue to evolve,” says Duncan Shouler, the chief winemaker for Giesen Group in Marlborough.

However, winemakers are curious by nature. With more than four decades working with the grape under their belts, New Zealand’s vintners are increasingly willing to push the boundaries of what Sauvignon Blanc can be. “Now those producers are confident of their understanding of Sauvignon Blanc, they naturally want to explore alternative expressions of the variety,” says James Healy, the co-owner of Dog Point Vineyard in Marlborough. “Almost all serious producers of Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand have at least two styles on sale.”

CloudyBayInterestingly, experimentation with Sauvignon Blanc styles is not entirely new in New Zealand. Many point to Cloudy Bay, one of Marlborough’s first wineries, as the pioneer of experimental Sauvignon Blanc winemaking, using techniques like wild fermentation, malolactic fermentation, and barrel ageing in the early 1990s. These early experiments resulted in some of the country’s best-known — and more widely available — untraditional Sauvignon Blancs, notably Cloudy Bay’s iconic Te Koko bottling, first created in the 1996 vintage.

Today, Te Koko showcases a different side of Sauvignon Blanc — a serious and complex version that contrasts the bright and clean Cloudy Bay, Sauvignon Blanc. The majority of the juice undergoes indigenous yeast fermentation followed by malolactic fermentation, and the wine is aged on its lees in a mix of old and new French barrels for 18 months. “This approach builds far more richness, texture, and complexity in the wines,” says Jim White, Cloudy Bay’s technical director, “while the fruit-driven aromas become more complex and some savoury, spicy notes start to show.” It is released as a three-year-old wine.

But the team behind Te Koko has also brought this experience to other wild, barrel-fermented and aged Sauvignon Blancs in New Zealand. Healy, who was one of the winemakers at Cloudy Bay from 1991 until the early 2000s, recognized the potential to craft a Sauvignon Blanc in this style from a specific parcel within the Dog Point Vineyard. “That particular vineyard … produced a wine with a distinct and concentrated citrus influence,” he says, “which, combined with these vinification techniques, made it an obvious choice to make in this way.”

Healy decided to stay away from new barriques, looking instead to other international, cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc regions. “The idea of fermentation in older seasoned barrels, as is done in parts of the Loire, appealed,” he says.

As much as Cloudy Bay’s early experiments informed the creation of Te Koko, they were also tied to the origin of the Wild Sauvignon bottling from Greywacke; co-owner Kevin Judd was Cloudy Bay’s founding winemaker, and the fruit for Te Koko’s 1992 predecessor came from Greywacke Vineyard.

“When we had our first harvest in 2009, it was natural that we would continue the less-trodden path of Sauvignon and develop our own individual style of indigenous fermented Sauvignon Blanc,” says Kimberley Judd, Kevin’s wife and a co-owner of Greywacke. “[Kevin] preferred the richer, in-depth individuality that wild yeast brings to the finished wine.”

While the Wild Sauvignon is made from the same vineyard as Greywacke’s classic Sauvignon Blanc, the two are distinct. “The result is a more savoury, herbal flavour profile in the wine, and a textural quality that builds on the structure and intensity of mouthfeel,” says Judd. “The hands-off process gives the wine some real personality and individuality.”

Exploring New Styles and Regions

Some winemakers are using the country’s signature variety to make wines that are neither still nor dry. “For me, the drive behind making alternative styles of the variety is to show wine buyers and consumers that Sauvignon Blanc as a variety is more diverse than it is given credit for,” says Taylor.

In addition to her classic Sauvignon Blanc and wild, barrel-fermented OTQ, Taylor makes a late-harvest, sweet Sauvignon Blanc in vintages that encourage the development of botrytis, a beneficial mould that grows on grapes, dehydrates them, and concentrates flavours and sugars. The style has been produced in New Zealand in tiny quantities over past decades.

“In the right vintages with good botrytis, a great wine can be made,” says Shouler, who also makes late-harvest Sauvignon Blanc.

Others are experimenting with sparkling styles of Sauvignon Blanc. While many use the tank method to highlight the grape’s intense aromatics, Hunter’s Wines in Marlborough uses the ancestral method to create its Offshoot Pet-Nat. “This Pet-Nat provides a little glimpse at the type of wine our winemakers are used to tasting in the winery before wines are prepared for bottling,” the winery writes on its website.

Because Marlborough is the centre of Sauvignon Blanc production in New Zealand, stereotypical “New Zealand” Sauvignon Blanc is really stereotypical “Marlborough” Sauvignon Blanc. But other regions work with the grape as well, though in markedly smaller quantities.

While nearby spots like Nelson on the upper South Island and Wairarapa on the lower North Island make similarly bright, mouthwatering Sauvignon Blancs, further areas are now defining their own regional styles. The warmer Hawke’s Bay, for instance, has the second-highest numbers of Sauvignon Blanc vines in New Zealand after Marlborough and makes riper, rounder varietal wines. “In the warmer regions to the north, the wines tend to be more tropical and lower in acid, and further south, they are more delicate while retaining good acidity,” says Taylor.

Even Central Otago, New Zealand’s most southerly wine region, counts a handful of Sauvignon Blanc vines among its plantings. “I’ve always portrayed the region as ‘officially too far south and too cold for Sauvignon Blanc,’” says Andy Wilkinson, the director of operations and sales for Misha’s Vineyard in Central Otago. “However, with that said, if you have the right site — one that is exposed to lots of light, both direct and reflected — you can produce the most stunning style of Sauvignon Blanc.”

The rocky soils, longer days of intense sunshine, and cool nights of Central Otago’s continental climate combine to create a gentler Sauvignon Blanc with softer fruit and lifting but less sharp acidity. “The tough conditions that we expose the vines to encourage them to put more energy into the fruit, [producing] few bunches but much more intensity,” adds Wilkinson.

Though these offbeat styles of Sauvignon Blanc are broadening the grape’s spectrum in this island nation, don’t expect that signature New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc style to disappear. “It is a style that is well suited to the geographic and climatic conditions of New Zealand’s major grape-growing regions,” says Judd. “But as the New Zealand industry matures, there will be an increased presence of what we call ‘left-field’ Sauvignon Blancs in the market.”

While this might worry those who have come to rely on the predictable nature of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc as a category, stylistic diversity doesn’t undercut the intrinsic tie of these wines to their place of origin. “I think that ultimately, this will eventuate into two, perhaps three styles that will be instantly recognizable as [being] from New Zealand,” says Healy. “The one thing that they will all share is an interpretation of the intensity of the fruit quality that we have seen consistently over the past three and a half decades out of this country. It really is unique.”

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Wairarapa here we come!!

We have good news for our many members who’d booked to spend a day wining and dining in the Wairarapa back in March before COVID19 scuttled our plans.

This trip is now rescheduled for Saturday, 13 February 2021 so lock that into your calendars!. Read more about the trip.

Some of you were unable to come on the March trip because you’d booked overseas holidays (remember when we used to do that?!) Of course we still welcome any members who weren’t on the original list – please email Wayne to have your name added and organise payment of the $75 per head.

Palliser Estate

Grave Wines

alana wines

We plan to follow the same schedule as we’d planned for last March. We’ll update it closer to the date when the train times for that period have been loaded onto the Metlink website.

Instead of launching the club’s 40th birthday celebrations, this event will wrap them up so come along and make it a great day to mark this special milestone.

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Wine with Wings

By Walt Dickson. First published in Wairarapa Lifestyle Magazine, Winter 2020.

New owner of Gladstone Vineyard Eddie McDougall, also known as the Flying Winemaker. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN
The new owner of Gladstone Vineyard Eddie McDougall, also known as the Flying Winemaker. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

Contrary to what the name might suggest, The Flying Winemaker doesn’t own a plane, nor does he hold a pilot’s licence. But there is sincerity in Eddie McDougall’s moniker, yes, he does literally jet in to make the wine.

Born in Hong Kong, based in Australia, Eddie might be relatively new on the scene in Wairarapa, but he is an established name in other parts of the world; an award-winning winemaker, chairman of the Asian Wine Review, wine judge and TV personality behind one of Asia-Pacific’s most dynamic wine brands, The Flying Winemaker.

He swooped into the region in late 2018 buying the Gladstone Vineyard with lofty ambitions to make the best and most expensive wine in New Zealand.

Last year, his first vintage, he made two special wines at Gladstone that he says, will turn heads when they’re released: a field blend of three aromatic white varietals and an icon Pinot Noir that will be positioned as ‘New Zealand’s most expensive wine and best pinot’.

Eddie grew up in Brisbane and was studying for a business degree and working as a waiter in the early 2000s when he had a wine epiphany one night. Someone handed him a glass of Alsace pinot blanc and he was hooked. He enrolled in a winemaking degree and worked vintages across Australia and Italy. In 2009, he launched his wine label, making wine in the King Valley (Victoria), and later, Margaret River (Western Australia), buying fruit and leasing space in other people’s wineries.

His big break came in 2009, when he moved back to Hong Kong to set up the city’s first urban winery, shipping frozen grapes in from Europe and Australia. That’s when he earned his Flying Winemaker name, attracting the attention of television producers. Fast-track to 2018 and he was again looking for opportunities, initially in Australia, but when nothing caught his fancy, he looked across the Tasman.

‘I was happy to go wherever good wine is made, and Gladstone ticked all the right boxes

Making it such a great acquisition was that at Gladstone, all the ‘really hard work’ has been done, he says. ‘We believe that it is still the oldest white wine vineyard in the area – the first Sauvignon Blanc grapes were planted in 1986’.

Pinot Gris and Riesling have also since been planted, and instead of making three wines, Eddie makes a blend of all three.

‘Coming here we want to represent the region, and on a brand, level to represent what our true unique selling point is …we think we can make some serious, serious wines’.

In addition to the winery site, Gladstone Vineyard also owns considerably larger blocks of vines at nearby Dakin Road, as well as leasing crops from other growers. It is from the Dakins Road block that Eddie hopes to produce his icon Pinot Noir – to be called The Wairarapa – which he says will be the most definitive wine of the region, only made in the best possible years, 2019 is one of them.

The Flying Winemaker Team
The Flying Winemaker Team

With a global team based in Hong Kong and currently exporting throughout Asia, Australia, Norway, UK and USA, the sky is the limit. But he is not ignoring the domestic market and is determined to continue Gladstone Vineyard’s reputation for hosting terrific events.

Building on the success of the nearby Harvest Festive, Eddie aims to run up to four events a year at the winery. Exactly what they will be and when, wine lovers won’t want to miss out if his super cool Rose’ Revolutions, a mainstay on the calendar in Asia, are anything to go by.

Meanwhile, if you are in the neighbourhood, the cellar door is open daily from 11 am – 5 pm (except public holidays), but don’t expect to see Eddie, after all, when you have wings you gotta fly.

For more on Eddie, visit The Flying Winemaker.

For more on Wairarapa winemakers, visit www.wairarapalifestyle.com.

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Latest updates, dinner, Wairarapa trip, new editor & retiring editor

Latest updates

We hope all members are coming out of the hibernation that was COVID19 lockdown levels 4-3 and are looking forward to some normality re-energising their lives.  We are now allowed to meet and lots happening so let me set things out for you.  Firstly a major change is planned with Evelyn Dawson taking over the Editorship of your Newsletter.  Evelyn has other commitments and will not be joining the committee, we are however, very keen to seek a new member or two into the committee with both Steve and Robin withdrawing.  Think about it, please.

Evelyn Dawson (New editor)

The Minister of Wine and Cheese
Fletcher, David, 1952: I’ve been told to stop trivialising the work of politicians…

As everyone will realise we have been through strange and challenging times in recent weeks with the Cellar Club being in suspension.  As people have sat in isolation and reviewed the meaning of life I have had an epiphany.  I want to be the Editor of the Club’s Newsletter.  The following are a couple of Club issues we need to deal with.

No mid-year dinner

There will be no July Dinner but instead, the AGM has been deferred until July. See “Looking Forward” for detail.  Organising a dinner in the current somewhat fluid “Level” system is just too difficult.  We do have planning well in hand for our celebration dinner in November which will be special and should compensate.  More later on that.

Wairarapa trip & alternatives

We were all a bit sad that Covid19 meant that the planned Wairarapa trip in March could not proceed. We have been looking at alternatives and we are currently working on a deferment until February 2021.  We will continue to work on this alternative and will keep you all informed.

Robin (retiring editor)

Robin, Pat and grandkids. 2015
Robin, Pat and grandkids. 2015

You will note that I am relinquishing my role as your Newsletter Editor.  I am also looking to stand down as a committee member and would love it if someone else would put up their hand for a turn.  I have always believed that a little “churn” in committee membership allows for the introduction of variety and new ideas. I have been on the committee for 20 years and Editor for 9.  Time for a change.  I will continue to be a member of the club.  Far too much good wine yet to be tasted to give up that privilege.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the committee and very much appreciate the support I have received over the years.  Best wishes for the continued success of the Club.

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March & future events

Clearly, as we had no Club activity during March looking back has little value. As it happens it is equally difficult to look forward in our current environment. Suffice it to say that your committee will keep abreast of developments and will make appropriate plans when things become clearer. The Wairarapa trip and The Crater Rim will be foremost in our future arrangements.

Palliser Estate Wines
grava Martinborough
Alana Wines
Coney Wines

The Crater Rim

Clearly COVID-19 has forgotten to consider our club’s 40th-anniversary celebrations.  Your committee is still focused on holding these events as we can and planning is well underway for a dinner at a pretty special venue in November.  So let’s hope the lockdown is a distant memory by then and we can all make up for lost time with a great night out.  In the meantime, we trust all of us are doing our bit to help wineries stay financially afloat.

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Celebratory activities, Important things, Maison Noire

Celebratory activities

It’s the first of our celebratory activities for the year this month. The day trip to the Wairarapa promises to be a real highlight. A great deal of work has been put into the organisation of the day and I know we would all like to thank those on the committee who have been deeply involved.

Important things

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A list of the two tasting groups can be found in your email from Robin.

Maison Noire

There has been a bit of fun over the Maison Noire deliveries. When they arrived at my place, in numbered cartons, there was a notable omission in that carton No.1 was missing. No message or contact from the courier about this so I contacted Esther at Maison Noire. With some difficulty, she was finally able to ascertain that some breakage had occurred in this carton. The carton contained mainly Chenin Blanc. Unfortunately, the order had exhausted their reserves of the 2019 vintage and they will be replacing these orders with 2020 wine. Very poor service from the courier PBT.

Robin Semmens

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Haythornthwaite Wines – March 2018

What a great evening with Mark and Susan. A nice blend of where they have come from and an outline of where the business is going now. Their business in Martinborough has taken an upturn with the introduction of platters at their tasting room. This has guided them into the tourism area and is looking very promising for them.

To recoup on the wines we started with the Rose 2017 as the quaffer. It is a dry style rose but with huge fruit sweetness and flavours of strawberries and raspberries. That was followed by the dry Pinot Gris and the two drier Gewurtztraminer’s. After a break we tasted the 2012 Pinot Noir, followed by the Reserve Pinot from 2013, which was a superb wine. It won a gold medal from the Air NZ Wine Awards. We then finished with the sweet Auslese Gewurztraminer 2013 (Pamela) that is a luscious wine.

Some good orders which was very pleasing for Susan and Mark. There were two things following from the evening. With harvest fast approaching there is often a need for pickers. If you are interested please let them know. Secondly, Haythornthwaite will give Club members a 10% discount at the tasting room. Give it a try, a trip to the Wairarapa, a platter and a tasting of some really nice wines. What more could you want?

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Oldest wine opened in NZ still ‘amazing’ after 113 years in a Wairarapa cellar

Caleb Harris/Fairfax NZ | Last updated February 10, 2016.

After 113 years in a farmhouse cellar, a bottle of wine believed to be the oldest ever opened in New Zealand has astonished critics by still tasting great.

“It’s superb. Amazing, really … It’s still hanging on, shaking its fist at you out of the glass,” was how wine writer John Saker summed up the 1903 Landsdowne Claret opened in Wairarapa on Wednesday.

Early Wairarapa settler William Beetham made the wine on land the family owned in Masterton, after his homesick French wife Hermance planted vines.

The 1903 blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and syrah is poured at Brancepeth Station in Wairarapa.

The vineyard stopped producing around 1908, but some bottles have been cellared ever since in the Edwardian homestead at Brancepeth Station, east of Masterton, which Beetham’s descendants still own.

On Wednesday, Saker convened a panel of 12 other local and international wine writers at Brancepeth to sample the valuable vintage, a bottle of which once sold for $14,000.

The 1903 blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and syrah is poured at Brancepeth Station in Wairarapa.

Beetham’s Masterton vineyard was revived under new owner Derek Hagar in 2009 and won an international pinot noir award, so the tasters compared Beetham’s 1903 wine with a contemporary bottle produced by Hagar on the same land.

Brancepeth’s current custodian, Edward Beetham, said seeing his forebear’s pioneering role in Wairarapa winemaking acknowledged was “a great occasion”. “We’ve always sort of dreamt of doing this.”

Although called a claret, the wine is actually a blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and syrah.

Breaths were bated as the crumbling cork was pulled, but once the venerable wine was swished, sniffed and sipped, the consensus was that age had not wearied it.

“This wine is like … a 100-year-old human which is still not ready to die,” German sommelier Markus Berlinghof said.

“There was this sort of dried citrus-peel acidity that just made it feel alive, still, and that completely shocked me,” American wine writer Sara Schneider said.

American wine writer Sara Schneider at the tasting.
American wine writer Sara Schneider at the tasting.

Saker found the wine not only surprisingly fault-free for its age, but also redolent of an “Edwardian summer” at the dawn of New Zealand’s wine industry. “That’s what makes it wonderful.”


1. John Saker, Wine editor Cuisine magazine

Tasting notes: “Slight faded rose, a hint of reduction … that lovely elegant passage across the palate, just a suggestion of sweetness. This is a Wairarapa pinot to be proud of.”

What about compared with the 2009 Landsdowne wine? “I thought there was a family resemblance … both have a finer, lighter, red fruit notes and a steely acidity.”

Rating (1903): 5 out of 5

2. German sommelier Markus Berlinghof

German sommelier Markus Berlinghof and American wine writer Sara Schneider get to work on their tasting notes.

Tasting notes: “A lot of dried fruit character, dried orange zest. Elegant, a very feminine mouth feel. The colour is still in very good condition, a deep garnet, very fresh.”

What about compared with the 2009 Landsdowne wine? “I wasn’t a friend of drinking the other wine afterward, I don’t want to compare them.”

Rating: Doesn’t believe in ratings, but in a word: “Superb”.

3. American wine writer Sara Schneider

Tasting notes: “That first red fruit is really gone by now, but has sort of turned into a dried fig character, kind of an earthy tang, with the tannin texture … dried rose petals … a terrific wine.”

What about compared with the 2009 Landsdowne wine? “There’s a wet loam, forest floor, mushroomy, savoury character in both wines.”

Rating: High 19 out of 20 (1903); low 19 out of 20 (2009).

 – Stuff

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Tasting review – Gladstone Vineyard

Being the first vineyard in Gladstone in 1986, Christine and David Kernohan took over the vineyard in 1996. Only 20km from Martinborough, GV soils exhibit similar properties probably due to its proximity to the old terrace riverbed of the Ruamahanga River.

With ideal soil conditions, free draining stony silt loam for growing vines, production has steadily stepped up over the past 20 years. Christine mentioned the wine growing area in Gladstone is in the process of identifying its own sub-region characteristics.

The wines from first impressions seemed to be a little flat. First impressions can be deceiving as they were in this case. The bouquet for most wines were on the light side but still clean and fresh.

The 2014 Viognier gave a hint on lemon peel and spice with a dry, ripe apricot finish. The GC Sauv. Blanc hinted at young pineapple and again a dry, crisp lingering (for more) finish. The Pinot Gris offered up fresh melons with off-dry ripe stonefruit to finish and the Rosé, made from Bordeaux-style grapes. strawberries and cream, beautiful and elegant.

Click image to view the gallery

Into the reds. The tasting notes were not wrong. What they don’t mention is their elegant subtle perfume and rich long finish. 12.000 Pinot Noir offered hints of blackberry and liquorice with a savoury finish.

Despite a wet few months before picking, the 2011 GV Pinot Noir displayed a warmth from the extra time on the vine allowing the tannins to build. This would go perfectly with lamb or pork infused with Asian-inspired flavours; star anise, dark soy, sugar and salt.

The club appreciates Christine’s time and wonderfully crafted wines. Now looking forward to how 2014 Pinot’s stack up.

Cheers, Steve

Event details

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions

Cost: Members $12, Guests $16

Presenter: Christine Kernohan – Chef winemaker, Gladstone Vineyard


Christine is the chief winemaker at Gladstone, involved in all stages of winemaking and manages the business. One of only three Scottish women winemakers in the world (not being a common career aspiration where or when she grew up). Christine ‘fell’ into the wine industry after a happenstance visit to Gladstone Vineyard with David one spring weekend in 1995.

She previously worked in the computer industry in business analysis and project management and was also involved in social research and agriculture industry research. She has an MBA from Massey University and farming experience from involvement in a goat, sheep and beef farm at Hunterville.

Gladstone Vineyard was the opportunity to run her own business, bring together the rural life with business, and apply her scientific bent from way back.

David Kernohan is owner/taster, architect and former Associate Professor at the School of Architecture at Wellington’s Victoria University. He has been operating his own research and building heritage consultancy, Architecture Diagnostics, from the vineyard for the past eight years.

He is the author of five books on architecture including Wairarapa Buildings published in 2003. David is a Deputy Environment Commissioner, was co-author of the Hunn Report on the weather tightness of buildings that precipitated the Building Act 2004, and is a former Director of Wellington Waterfront Limited.

  • ‘Quaffing wine’ – 12,000 Miles Sauvignon Blanc 2014
    Move over Marlborough… try the ‘more grown up’, easy drinking summer Wairarapa SB. The wine shows excellent fruit purity and finishes long and attractive. At its best: now to 2017.” 4.5 Stars, Wine Orbit, Jan 2015
  • Gladstone Vineyard Viognier 2014
    White peach and mandarin on the nose, echoed by orange blossom and subtle clove spice. An elegant, cool climate Viognier. 5 Stars 93/100. Wine Orbit; 4 Stars” Cameron Douglas MS
  • Gladstone Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013
    More serious, wonderful food wine. Careful batch selection and winemaking produce this textural elegant Sauvignon Blanc. Silver Medals, San Francisco and Canada, 91/100 Sam Kim.
  • 12,000 Miles Pinot Gris 2014
    A lovely bouquet of yellow peach, loquat and nectarine opens up to a musky floral and cinnamon spice nose. The palate is rich and rounded with a soft, mealy character from the extended lees contact. Silver Medal NZ International Wine Show 2014
  • Gladstone Vineyard Rose 2014
    THINK PINK! A perfect ‘all year round’ rose. The nose is all summery desserts with strawberry, raspberry and pannacotta with hints of spice. Creamy and generous entry with a juicy fruit core and a clean finish. Made from Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes.
  • 12,000 Miles Pinot Noir 2013
    New release, dark berry flavours are balanced with subtle spice, chocolate, earth and savoury characteristics that enhance and lengthen the palate. Pure Gold Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2014, Gold Melbourne International Wine Competition 2014
  • Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011
    “Light ruby-red with purple hues, fresh and fragrant with lifted red cherry and berry fruit aromas and a little savoury interest. Attractively elegant”. Silver Medal International Wine Challenge 2013, & Decanter World Wine Awards 2013, International Wine Challenge 2013

Note: Every case purchased goes into the draw to win a magnum of Gladstone Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir 09.