World Class New Zealand: The specialist winegrowers of New Zealand

New Zealand emerged as distinctive wine growing region when the ‘New World’ winemakers first attracted attention in the 1980s. The wine style that was associated with the country initially was Sauvignon Blanc, particularly from the Marlborough area in the South Island. It was the pure and intense fruit characteristics of this wine that were remarked upon and those same qualities soon began to be noticed in other varieties planted in other New Zealand wine regions.
New Zealand’s diverse geology and climate, with long latitudinal spread, and distinctive soil types, has resulted in unique regional variations for grape growing. This diversity has led to an appreciation that New Zealand is capable of growing almost any one of the classical grape varieties somewhere within the country. The challenge of the last 30 years has been to match variety to appropriate region, climate and soil type.
The country’s larger producers have established markets throughout the world for their Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs and Cabernet Blends. Demand for cool climate Syrahs outstrips supply and the best Methode Traditionelles rival the quality of Champagne.
Today there are over 500 artisan winegrowers spread from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South, producing wide variety of world-class wines in small quantities. It is this diversity and artisan dedication to quality that makes New Zealand so appealing to lovers of fine wine.
The Specialist Winegrowers of New Zealand together represent the finest of those artisan winegrowers.
The dedication of time, care and life-long passion to their craft is the distinguishing characteristic of The Specialist Winegrowers of New Zealand, the select group of ultra premium artisan winemakers who have each chosen to specialise in single wine varietals or styles.
Between them the group produces Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Blends, Methode Traditionelle, Syrah, Pinot Noir & Sauvignon Blanc.
These are the exciting, difficult to find wines, lovingly nurtured and matured for the discerning enthusiast. Gathered together under this prestigious banner, they provide the opportunity for fine wine lovers around the world to experience exceptional single-vineyard wines produced by some of New Zealand’s most exceptional winemakers.
These sought-after wines are highly regarded and add interest and standing to the most discerning fine wine resellers and restaurant lists.

No grape variety is so obviously influenced by the particularities of soil and climate as is Syrah. This is its challenge and its charm, for the winegrower has the opportunity to make wine that truly reflects the nature of the vineyard (the ‘terroir’) and the wine buyer has the pleasure of anticipating new complexities in each encounter.
At its very best syrah shows differing degrees of ripeness which can provide extraordinary nuances of aroma and flavour with levels of stylistic elegance and complexity not found in any other variety: red roses and violets, freshly-cracked black peppercorns and spice; cassis, raspberries, blackberries, cherries and plums; full bodied with moderate acidity and strong ripe tannins.
This is Syrah at its very best, and to achieve that level it must be growing in the right place.

WORLD CLASS SYRAH by Chris Canning and Bryan Mogridge

ocation for the production of an outstanding cool climate red. The single-vineyard estate at Onetangi Valley on Waiheke Island specialises only in Syrah from low-cropping vines sourced from the Rhone Valley. Hand made and cellared for up to three years prior to release, these are internationally acclaimed wines for connoisseurs, collectors and all lovers of fine wine.
The proprietors are industry pioneers with extensive experience of New Zealand’s wine growing regions dating back to the 1970s and they chose the location for their boutique winery and vineyard with view to optimising the varietal characteristics of this classic Syrah wine under cool climate conditions.
Meticulous attention is given to bunch selection and optimal ripening conditions in order to capture the elegance and complexity of this classical grape variety in an artisan wine. Small batch fermentations with extended maceration times are followed by 12 months in predominantly new French oak and further two years cellaring before release.
The Hay Paddock Syrah artisan wine is suitable for cellaring up to 10 years.

Gewurz means ‘spicy’ in German while traminer means ‘coming from Tramin’, small city in the south of Austria’s Tyrol region, where Gewurztraminer originated. Now however the benchmark Gewurztraminers are, without doubt, the great Grand Cru Gewurztraminer’s from the Alsace region of France.
Nobilo had long believed that the geographic and climatic similarities between the Alsace region and parts of New Zealand were remarkably similar and that Gewurztraminer from New Zealand could become recognised as being amongst the best in the world.
In 1972 Nobilo pioneered the variety commercially at Huapai and later in the 1970s identified location at Ormond, Gisborne as perfect site for aromatic grape varieties. Vinoptima Estate is very close to the site of that original vineyard and benefits from the same unique microclimate that Nobilo knew could produce outstanding Gewurztraminer. It’s protected from the extremes of weather by low-lying foothills to the South, East and North of the property. The climate is also hotter and drier than the cooler growing climate of the coast, producing an unusually high intensity in aromatic wine varieties, which of course, is perfect for the estate’s Gewurztraminer grapes while the alluvial soils, high in magnesium and boron, provided the final piece in the terroir mosaic.


Vinoptima Estate is fully integrated, self-contained vineyard and winery dedicated to the production of single commercial wine from grapes grown entirely on the Estate. No grapes are grown under contract and no other winemaking or bottling is undertaken on behalf of third parties.
The Estate vineyard comprises 9.7 hectares divided into two blocks of roughly equal size. The original South block was planted in 2000 and the new North block was planted in 2007. The Vinoptima Estate vineyard is planted in five different clones of Gewurztraminer that managing director and winemaker Nick Nobilo has selected during more than 25 years work with the variety.
A desire to create truly exceptional Gewurztraminer wine has governed every aspect of the vineyard’s development and the result is the ultra premium Gewurztraminer available under the Vinoptima label.
Vinoptima Estate is situated on the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, 26 kilometres inland from Gisborne. The Estate is not open to the public, however visitors are welcome by arrangement.

Cabernet Blends
Destiny Bay Vineyards is nestled in small, wind-sheltered valley on Waiheke Island. The combination of gently contoured slopes, warm northerly aspect, cracking clay soils, and meticulous winemaking practices, creates an ideal environment for the crafting of Cabernet blends that are delicately balanced, full-bodied, and distinctive.
The 15,000 vines are composed of clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot selected from premium wine districts around the world. Destiny Bay’s uncompromising viticulture practices, meticulous fruit sorting, and winemaking processes are benchmark for consistent quality and carefully crafted artisan winemaking.
Destiny Bay is fully sustainable vineyard and Waiheke’s first fully sustainable winery. Small batch fermentations with extended maceration times are followed by 12 to 15 months in French and American oak.
All wines are cellared for two years

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