Found at the northern tip of the South Island, the Awatere (pron: ‘Ow–wa–terry’) is southeast of Marlborough’s internationally renowned Wairau Valley. The massive tectonic uplift of the Awatere Fault has created a steep valley, giving power to the fast moving waters as they run towards the Cook Strait. Over time, the river’s descent has carved dramatic cliffs out of ‘papa’ bedrock and layers of free-draining lime-rich sediment.
The riverbed is full of rock debris from the erosion at the head of the valley. This maybe considered an unlikely landscape for grapes, but the vines are hardy and have adapted well to the terrain. The vines are planted in river-run gravels lying above the clay papa base.
The climate is characterised by low rainfall, high sunshine hours and a large temperature shift between warm days and cool nights. The growing season is long ensuring flavour and sugar ripeness occur together.
The unique terroir of the Upper Awatere Valley creates grapes characterised by a distinct minerality and flavour intensity. As a result, our Awatere Valley wines are frequently compared to the Sancerre wines of France.