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Winemaking

Waipara Hills Wines

Winemaking Philosophy

At Waipara Hills our winemaking philosophy is simple. It’s about creating perfect balance, encouraging the characteristics of each season’s fruit to shine, whilst celebrating South Island vineyards. The result is wine that is rich, textural and bursting with complex flavour.

From the vineyard to the winery, our team are hands-on in perfecting their craft, pouring a little of themselves into everything they do. For us every harvest signals the beginning of a new adventure, the chance to create wine that is distinctly Waipara Hills.
 

Andrew Brown, Winemaker

Taking over the reins of passion and patience for the craft of winemaking is Andrew Brown, well renowned for his expertise with aromatics, particularly with Riesling, of which he enjoys the stylistic diversity. 
 
Making the switch from Assistant Winemaker at Framingham Wines in Marlborough where he has been since 2009, Andrew is looking forward to getting his hands amongst the soils and vines of Waipara Hills, where he has a long term fascination and respect for the wine produced in the Valley.
 
“I’ve always been a fan of the Waipara Valley so am really thrilled to be taking up the role as Waipara Hills winemaker. I am looking forward to working with the fruit, championing the region and becoming part of the team.”
 
Andrew’s love of the land started from a young age; his first taste of harvest was cropping the swedes on his family farm in Waitahuna, South Otago, at the tender age of six.
 
After high school he completed a Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management degree at Lincoln University, and promised himself he would return to complete the Post Graduate Diploma of Viticulture and Oenology at a later date. He did just that, dipping back into the study books in 2004 after four years of travel.
 
On the winemaking front, Andrew has worked in Alsace, Oregon and Central Otago and Marlborough.
 
Even with 10 harvests under his belt, and one just around the corner, he still thrives on the thrills and challenges they deliver.
 
“Trialling winemaking techniques and learning from these is what I really look forward to. As well as working with new vineyards and ferments….. as long as they behave themselves!”
 

 

Vintage Reports


2018  
 
The sacrifices made by the viticulture team at Waipara Hills during the festive season, when most folk are kicking back, all seems very worthwhile when the fruit they harvest is as excellent as it was this year.

“We were able to harvest some very special fruit. With all the disease pressure this season it would be fair to say the results have exceeded our expectation. We are now in a happy position to reflect on the mammoth effort,” said Assistant Vineyard Manager Ben Rori.

It was a summer for the record books in the Waipara Valley. A virtual frost-free spring meant early growth and fantastic fruit set across the varieties, followed by a very hot and dry December and January.
As veraison kicked in early at the end of January, the trend turned towards humid weather, which, coupled with big berries and bunches, added to disease pressure. The traditional scenario of a North Canterbury summer then set in again, bringing with it a record number of hot and dry Nor’ West days in March. Overall, the mercury was sitting on average two degrees higher than average. This heat, coupled with significant rainfall in January, stretched the viticulture team as they combatted the increased canopy growth. They were also flat out with fruit thinning and de-clumping, to keep both plants and flavours in balance.  

“Three weeks of Nor’ West winds allowed us to harvest some well balanced and ripe fruit,” said Waipara Hills Viticulture Manager Jean-Luc Dufour, 'with the Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir harvested at the end of March.'

Picking hit the record books too, with 80% of the fruit being taken off the vines in the first week of April.

“Apart from some late harvest Riesling, we had finished harvest by mid-April, a first ever for Waipara!”

Jean-Luc’s ‘pick of the year’ was both the organic and conventional Sauvignon Blanc from the Mound Vineyard, which he described as showing exceptional quality with plenty of concentration and lovely spice.

“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.”

Ben Rori, who oversaw all the handpicking, was also a huge fan of the organic Sauvignon Blanc.

“It was ripe and as clean as a whistle.”

He also said the six tonne select pick of CL95 Chardonnay off the Home Block was the best that had been produced in years, thanks to some intense management during the challenging summer months to mitigate disease pressure. Due to the heat during these weeks, earlier ripening meant higher sugars, and more developed flavours.

“And the Pinot Gris off The Deans Vineyard was ripe and luscious too,” said Ben.

Waipara Hills Winemaker Andrew Brown is stoked with the way the flavours are developing in barrel and tank, describing them as ‘classic and textural,’ noting there has been plenty of flavour variation and interest in the fruit this year.

“For example, with the early picks of Pinot Gris we had apple flavours right through to nashi pear and stone fruit. With the later picks the flavours developed into baked apple and quince.”

Although it’s early days for the Pinot Noir, Andrew said so far it seems to be fruit forward and elegant in structure, and with expressive aromatics. The Gruner Veltliner is looking really cool tropically, and with good phenolic ripeness. An undeniable Riesling fan, Andrew is really pleased with this year’s fruit, showing great weight and fantastic orange citrus flavours.

“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.” 

With most of the ferments now well through their paces, he is looking forward to seeing how these wines develop and evolve.

“The highlight for me at harvest is working with this dedicated and passionate viticulture team; it is always a great experience.”
 
 
 

 
AttachmentSize
2011 Vintage.pdf122.29 KB
2012 Vintage.pdf147.28 KB
2013 Vintage.pdf69.61 KB
2014 Vintage.pdf70.09 KB
2016 Vintage.pdf148.32 KB
2017 Vintage.pdf71.27 KB

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Waipara Hills

Waipara Hills, 780 Glasnevin Road
State Highway 1, Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand

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