The Winery & Vineyards

Vineyards, viticulture and the winery

Matahiwi Estate produces its wine according to the criteria of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ).

Inter-row plantings promote healthy soils and bio-diversity in the vineyard. The flowering buckwheat and phacelia attract natural predators for some vineyard pests, while clovers, oats, chicory and vetch provide nitrogen and other nutrients to vines when they are mown or cultivated into the ground.

The winery continually tests different viticulture and winemaking methods, including organic regimes on certain Pinot Noir blocks. To a large extent homegrown mulches and products made from seaweeds and humic acids replace hard fertilisers. Sheep wander among the vines in winter.

Grapes are predominantly grown in the Wairarapa with small volumes of Chardonnay sourced from selected vineyard sites in Hawke’s Bay. The Wairarapa vineyards lie on the north-west outskirts of Masterton, with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc the two main varieties plus a small amount of Pinot Gris.

 

Pinot Noir

Cropping rates are low and the grapes well exposed in an effort to produce consistently good-quality fruit from this most fickle of grape varieties. A mix of clones and rootstock allows greater flexibility in the final blend, resulting in a Pinot Noir of depth and complexity.

Sauvignon Blanc

The Wairarapa generally produces small crops of intensely flavoured fruit. Care is taken to control the vigour of the irrepressible Sauvignon Blanc vines to avoid overly herbaceous or unripe wines. We also work hard to introduce a range of flavours into the grapes as they ripen, for example, by leaf-plucking just the morning side of the canopy. We pick Sauvignon Blanc over differing ripeness periods to capture flavour profiles we want in the final wine.

Soils

The vineyard soils are typical of the band of free-draining, fine alluvial loams running through the Opaki/Gladstone areas and south to Martinborough, coating the ancient riverbeds of the Waingawa and Ruamahanga Rivers.

Climate

A relatively long and dry growing season characterises the region, with summer days typically reaching 28-32 C. The diurnal difference increased markedly in late summer and early autumn, resulting in relatively cool temperatures in the last month of ripening – ideal for premium Pinot Noir production.

The Winery

The state-of-the-art Matahiwi Estate winery was designed by award-winning Wellington architects Bevin + Slessor, in response to the demands of site, climate conditions and the needs of a specialist Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc producer.