Go for Gold - and a trio of Trophies

A haul of Gold Medals and trophies in recent weeks for two of our wines is proof that the winemaking and viticulture teams at Waipara Hills are doing a lot of things right.

The 2018 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Noir Rosé is well blinged up since the New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards; taking home a Gold Medal and clinching the Trophy for Best Wine – Canterbury.  And if that wasn’t fantastic enough, this wine was also crowned Best Open Red Wine 2018.

“It was a thrill to be up there receiving these awards, a massive acknowledgement of the hard work that everyone at Waipara Hills puts into these wines, from the vines to the cellar,” said Waipara Hills winemaker Andrew Brown, who attended the awards dinner in Wellington recently.

Reflecting back on the year that was, Jean-Luc Dufour, Waipara Hills Viticulturist, (who has been with us for nearly 25 years), said the 2018 vintage was a pretty tough one in the vineyard, one of the trickiest he has experienced.

“There was disease pressure early on with rain during January and February. Thankfully our saving grace, the Nor’West wind, came into play just at the right time, to ease disease pressure and help with ripening.”

Across the ditch, things have been equally as exciting for this Rosé at the Sydney International Wine Competition, winning a Blue/Gold medal, a Top 100 Medal,  and the Trophy for the Best Rosé in Show.

And things just keep getting better. The 2017 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris was awarded a Gold Medal at the New Zealand Aromatics Show last month.

“Well that was just awesome, we really can’t wish for any better,” grinned Andrew.

The journey of these wines starts in the ground and there’s some very hardworking folk at Waipara Hills who ensure each step is carried out diligently to give us the best possible fruit to make into wine.

The 2018 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Noir Rose is grown in the deep and free draining Glasnevin soils, the primary and lifted characters of the fruit were expressed by extended time on lees, after a brief time on skins before ferment stage, with Andrew adding that this helps to ensure these prevalent characteristics remain right through to the glass.

“We always aim to harvest fruit at the ‘optimum’ time in perfect ‘condition’ which becomes a bit of a throwaway line, but in this year’s case it was true,” he said.

With one year under its belt, the 2017 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris has proved it still has what it takes in a judging line up.

Again, the free draining nature of the Glasnevin soils this valley is known for helps cement the aromatic characters of the Pinot Gris fruit.

The viticulture team worked hard over the summer of 2016/2017 into harvest time, and this is reflected in the wine with decent concentration and spice coming from the fruit.

“It’s always such a pleasure to bring in fruit which has been so well looked after, and it’s a credit to everyone involved,” said Jean-Luc.

In the winery, ferment was stopped slightly early to provide just enough residual sugar to leave an off-dry finish with a creamy texture and rich mouth feel.

Jean-Luc said the key to great fruit on the vines during any harvest was making sure they got the basics right, and that’s as simple as a daily walk through the vines to monitor flavour development and pressure from the elements.

“The well timed North Canterbury Nor’ West winds allowed us to harvest some well balanced and ripe fruit, and good sun exposure is always a great bonus,” he said.

Andrew and Jean-Luc were thrilled with the results of this year’s competition season, and both agreed the solid team work between them and the hard working team ethos was a huge factor in their success.

“Working with this dedicated and passionate team is always a great experience,” said Andrew.


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