Being both winemakers, when we first talked about doing our own thing – we decided that having our own winery was of paramount importance. It meant we could pick things when we wanted to and make them exactly how we wanted to, without having to make any of the compromises involved in making our wines in a contract facility.
The winery building here at Te Whare Ra had very humble beginnings as a tractor shed and has been added to over time. Our winery is a bit like us – not flashy, not showy and very down to earth!
It is set up for small batch, hands on winemaking which is what we focus on. It not an architectural marvel or an iconic showpiece but we saw function as being the key factor rather than form. But have made no compromises and spared no expense when it comes to the functions and equipment that are important for wine quality.
All our fruit is picked by hand and then collected and brought straight into the winery where it is hand sorted before it is processed any further. We also have a small cold room which we use for chilling the fruit down before processing.
We have set the winery up with lots of small tanks (i.e 600lts and up) which means we can keep each vineyard parcel (clone, soil type, vine age) separate and also experiment with lots of different techniques. We also upgraded the antiquated cooling system which means we can now control the temperature on all the white tanks individually.
All the reds are berry sorted and then moved by gravity to small open vats for fermentation. All the red ferments are hand plunged and the size of the vats is again important for keeping our parcels separate and giving us more options when it comes to blending.
We believe that all the manipulation and intervention should be done in the vineyard and like our winemaking to be as natural as possible.
- no fining agents
- no added tannins
- no chemical yeast nutrients
Our wines are not rushed to bottle but are given sufficient time on lees in the winery to build texture and complexity. We bottle when the wines are ready. It is this control of every step of the winemaking process and by an in depth knowledge of our vineyard site here that means we can make our wines in a more natural way and be more intuitive.