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News | News

4.5 stars for 2013 Equinox Waipara Valley Riesling

Waipara Hills received 4.5 stars for the 2013 Equinox Waipara Valley Riesling, in the March 2014 issue of Cuisine. The wine is due to be released at the cellar door later this month and we are excited to launch, with a notable 4.5 stars behind us!

The Cuisine panel was quoted saying, “You’d expect balance from a wine called Equinox, and that’s exactly what you get here – sweet highlights anchored to a well-defined structure. Mandarin, lime, baked apple and wet-stone notes contribute to an impressive flavour profile”.

Waipara Hills Winemaker; Simon McGeorge is over the moon with the result.

“It’s really exciting receiving 4.5 stars for a wine that’s still so young and early in its development. Thanks to the Cuisine panel for their insight and to all the Riesling drinkers out there, keep an eye on this wine as it’s only starting to open its wings!”, Simon said.

Waipara Hills also received 3 stars from Cuisine for the 2013 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris and the 2013 Equinox Waipara Valley Pinot Gris.

Trio of Silver Medals for Waipara Hills at Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

Waipara Hills received a fantastic three silver medals, at the 2013 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The three award winners were; 2013 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris, 2013 Waipara Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and the 2012 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Chardonnay.

A great result for three outstanding wines!  Waipara Hills contributes its success to the combined efforts of Winemaker, Simon McGeorge and Waipara Viticulturist, Jean-Luc Dufour.

Simon is delighted with the acknowledgement and believes it’s the first of many medals following the strong 2013 vintage. “Receiving silver medals for our Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris is very gratifying and a sound endorsement on the overall quality of our wines. I’ll be proud to have the silver Air New Zealand stickers on my wines as I show them off in the coming year, “Simon said.

Jean-Luc has worked on the Waipara Hills Home Block Vineyard, since Pinot Gris was planted there almost 20 years ago. He believes the continued success of the Pinot Gris, hailing from this block, is due to the strict processes when planting the vines.

“The history of our success with Pinot Gris at the Home Block Vineyard goes back to 1995, where we went through the process of selecting the best bud wood for planting. These plants are on their own roots and together with a stony river terrace site, have consistently produced high quality fruit,” he said.

Waipara Hills shines with three Silver Medals at IWSC (UK)

Results have been announced for the 2013 International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC UK) and we're delighted to have received Silver medals for 2012 Waipara Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 Waipara Hills Central Otago Pinot Noir and 2012 Equinox Waipara Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The IWSC was founded in 1969 and is widely considered to be the most prestigious independent competition of its type in the world. There are two rigorous stages of judging. A professional blind tasting of wines, followed by a detailed chemical and microbiological analysis. The wine is subject to a thorough analysis that looks at the levels of minerals and metals that could potentially negatively affect the wine down the track. For example a recently bottled Sauvignon Blanc could be pleasant on the nose and palate but within three months could begin to oxidise due to free sulphur dioxide levels, unnoticeable to the nose this early in its life. For more information on the awards visit http://www.iwsc.net.

Join us at Taste Waipara
Taste Waipara

We're excited to be part of Taste Waipara.  Join us and other producers from the Waipara Valley for a boutique wine tasting experience at Christchurch Casino 17 September. Tickets are limited and only available at www.tastewaipara.co.nz.

Jean-Luc Dufour awarded Pure Gold and more at 2013 Bragato Awards

Big congratulations to our Vineyard Manager, Jean-Luc Dufour, who was awarded Pure Gold and a swag of bronzes at this year’s Bragato Awards!

The Bragato Wine Awards, held each year as part of the Romeo Bragato Conference, are awarded to the grower for viticultural excellence. The competition recognises that growing excellent grapes is the foundation of making wines of true quality.

The competition had 495 entries with 51 gold medals, 107 silver and 181 bronze medals being awarded.

PURE GOLD
2012 Equinox Sauvignon Blanc 

PURE BRONZE
2012 Waipara Hills Waipara Riesling (Jean-Luc)
2013 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris (Jean-Luc)
2011 Equinox Pinot Noir (Jean-Luc)
2012 Equinox Chardonnay (Jean-Luc)

Our Central Otago Vineyard Manager, Duncan Cramp, was also awarded PURE BRONZE for 2012 Waipara Hills Central Otago Pinot Noir.

Two Golds from prestigious Canadian Wine Awards

We're delighted to announce two Gold Medals at the 2013 Selections Mondiales des Vins competition held in Canada.

The results:

GOLD - 2011 Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Gris

GOLD - 2011 Waipara Hills Central Otago Pinot Noir

The 2013 competition recieved over 1700 entries from 34 different countries. To see the full list of results visit www.smvcanada.ca/

Capturing the Soul of the South - Equinox Release

How does one capture the Soul of the South? By producing a special limited edition range of premium wines that uniquely represent the North Canterbury wine region Waipara Valley.

Equinox by Waipara Hills is proud to announce the new vintage release of its range including 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, 2011 Pinot Noir, and a new variety in the Equinox range – the 2012 Waipara Hills Equinox Chardonnay. 

Only in a special year is an Equinox wine produced; the fruit needs to express the natural terroir of the Waipara Valley - fortunately the 2012 vintage delivered all that and more. A cool summer delayed the ripening much later than normal helping to retain acidity and develop rich aromatics; a warm stable autumn presented the fruit in wonderful condition.

The 2012 Waipara Hills Equinox Chardonnay was a result of minimal winemaking intervention allowing it to develop and mature at its own pace. Stone fruit and citrus fruit characters burst from the first sip, complemented by subtle smokiness of French oak that will develop further as the wine ages in bottle. “This is the first of this style of wine that we've made here at Waipara Hills - I love the concentration, integration and freshness that we've achieved. Balancing the fruit with the oak, buttery notes with the oily texture and fresh acidity, this wine has a great poise about it.” explains Winemaker Simon McGeorge. Serve slightly chilled accompanied with roasted chicken, seared tuna or pork belly for a cosy Autumnal night in.

Oak influence is a successful feature of the 2012 Waipara Hills Equinox Sauvignon Blanc. Following on in style from the 2011 vintage, it parades class and exhibits an interesting and vibrant palate that reveals a wonderful mixture of smoke, spice, stone fruit and citrus flavours, a perfect accompaniment with seared scallops. All these characters give the wine its line and length and are a true expression of the ‘Soul of the South’.

The Equinox Range gives Waipara Hills Winemaker Simon McGeorge the freedom to make something different. “I love to explore quirkier styles and methods of winemaking, but always with an idea of presenting something that is ultimately very enjoyable. The wines change and evolve, both in the bottle and in the glass as the wine warms in your hands. The wine sitting there in front of you is proof of that” explains Simon.

Equinox wines are made in small parcels; it carries a personal element of patience and winemakers’ craft delivering complexity, and distinctive, aromatic characters - something the Equinox wines are championing. 

Waipara Hills Equinox range - RRP $32 - $34 proudly distributed by Hancocks and available at leading fine wine retail stores and restaurants nationwide.  Also available online www.waiparahills.co.nz

2012 Waipara Hills Equinox Chardonnay

2012 Waipara Hills Equinox Sauvignon Blanc

2011 Waipara Hills Equinox Pinot Noir

2012 Waipara Hills Equinox Riesling

NV  Waipara Hills Equinox Late Harvest Riesling (cellar door exclusive)

For more information, images or to set up a media visit with Waipara Hills, please contact Kate Cameron – Communication, PR and Event Co-ordinator - Phone: + 64 21 222 7858 Email: kate.cameron@nzve.co.nz

Marlborough Harvest 2013
Marlborough Harvest 2013

It was a great season in Marlborough with below average rainfall and higher than average growing degree days (the average daily temperature minus 10 added together) and average wind run. Crops were mostly in the optimum cropping range to suit the vineyard. This meant that quality was maximised with good healthy canopies through to harvest with great flavour development and ripening. 

Central Otago Harvest 2013
Central Otago

The 2013 season was one of the latest on record. Harvest started in earnest on April 5th. Weather conditions for harvest were near perfect, with cool calm days.  The prediction of rain eventuated with a shower of rain falling the day after final pick.

Waipara Valley Vineyard Update 2013
Four legged leaf pluckers hard at work

Summer of 2012/13 will be remembered by us as a great summer in the vineyard and this will be reflected in the bottle; vintage 2013!

This warm and settled summer was the base for a favorable ripening season. Fruit was harvested with good flavour, generous sweetness and solid acidity across all varietals.

Highlight of the  season in Waipara has been the implementation of several trial organic blocks. These have been very successful, thanks in part  to the clement weather and also the dedication of the staff to make this work. It was interesting to see, from spring, the difference in vigor between the organic and conventional blocks. The organic blocks being much less vigorous, bunch line more open and the leaves a paler green. By mid-summer the colour had evened out. Right up to harvest, those blocks stood up to the variety of weather and produced some of the best fruit.

Once again we have successfully employed a mob of 500 sheep to do some of our leaf plucking. At a busy time of the year when tractor/man hours are at a premium, these 4 legged leaf pluckers do a great job of opening the bunch line of over 70ha of vineyard.

Harvest started on 28th March and lasted for nearly 6 weeks, finishing with a pick of Pinot Gris on the 4th May, fruit still in very good condition, at 27 brix, on duck shooting opening day.

Through harvest we had glorious days interrupted by a few rain events often followed by windy Nor- Westers which kept us on our toes making harvest date decisions crucial to bringing in the best fruit.

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