Beautiful, sunny Nelson is a must-visit for any wine visitor with its tiny yet thriving high-quality industry illustrating perfectly the region’s long history of horticulture and artistic endeavours.
Nelson’s sheltered topography gives protection from strong winds; combined with its proximity to the sea this gives milder temperatures than other South Island regions, mitigating frost risk. Blessed with a remarkable number of clear days (regularly NZ’s sunniest region) good diurnal variation helps emphasise varietal character and the high sunlight hours give wonderful fruit purity.
Waimea Estates has 150ha of their own vineyards fully planted in 11 different varieties.
In 1993 we planted our first vineyard of two hectares, the Hill Vineyard. Our 27 hectare Annabrook Vineyard was developed in 1993/4 and in 1995 we established our 8 hectare Hunter Vineyard.
The stony loam soils of the Plains, along with a moderating maritime influence and a protective phalanx of hills, create the perfect terroir to produce ‘an evenly pitched’ range of varietal wines.
The 40 hectare Hope Block was established in 1998. Over the winter of 2000 the 8 hectare Packhouse Vineyard was planted. Colin’s Block was next in 2001, and then 2004/5 saw further extentions to both the Hunter Vineyard (now 20 hectares) plus a new location in Lansdowne Road (16 hectares). In 2006 another 20 hectares was planted in Colin’s Block. In total we now have over 150 hectares of vineyards. That’s a lot of vines whichever way you want to look at it!
Great wine from great grapes
Waimea works on the principle that to make great wine you need great grapes and so our wine quality and appeal begins in our vineyards. Year after year we harvest a quality crop - the direct result of paying careful attention to the integration of grape variety, rootstock and soil. Vine density, pruning, canopy management, soil cultivation and vine age all combine to influence the final quality of the wine we produce.
"Our philosophy is to fully exploit all the advantages of our superior growing conditions and grapes - allowing the natural character of the grapes to shine by practising minimal intervention in both the vineyards and winery. Our wines are terroir rather than winery driven."
Sunshine, rainfall, frost, wind and other climatic conditions as well as the presence or absence of pests and diseases all make each vintage a unique challenge.
Its a combination of site, soil and careful farming techniques that make a great vineyard. We also pay very careful attention to plant nutrition throughout the whole growing cycle and this certainly pays off in better colour, flavour and fruit intensity which is important for any wine but particularly so for the aromatic wines that make up such a large part of our portfolio.
"Sustainable winegrowing is comprehensive in its approach, with concern for the total vineyard environment, not just with the grapes that we grow. It is ensuring that environmental health, economic profitability, and social equity are balanced".
In all our business processes from vineyard management to sales, we are committed to constantly improving our environmental practices.
In the final analysis, all aspects of our sustainable winegrowing practices play a vital role in the quality and consistency of the wines we produce."
A clean green land
New Zealand has long been recognised as a country with a “clean, green” image and it's well deserved. As a small country dependent upon agriculture as its primary source of income for many years, farmers have always understood the value of our land and the importance of caring for it.
At Waimea, we constantly strive to protect the environmental integrity of our wine production. We adhere closely to a pioneering set of industry standards known as Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ). Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand provides the framework upon which we continually work towards improving all aspects of our performance in terms of environmental, social and economic sustainability in both the vineyard and the winery.