Matahiwi Estate produces its wine according to the criteria of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) over 75ha.
Grapes are predominantly grown in the Wairarapa with small volumes of Chardonnay and Syrah 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 and Chardonnay.
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. To a large extent homegrown mulches and products made from seaweeds and humic acids replace hard fertilisers. Sheep wander among the vines in winter and leaf pluck in summer.
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.
The Wairarapa generally produces small crops of intensely flavoured fruit. We 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.