One of the oldest and most prized vineyards in New Zealand, Clayvin Vineyard in Marlborough, has signed a long-term lease to Giesen Wines.
The coveted vineyard, which is more than 20 years old, covers 13.4ha in the sought after Wairau Valley, and has supplied grapes for a string of award-winning wines over the years. Developed in 1991, Clayvin was Marlborough’s first commercial hillside vineyard.
Wholly organic, the block comprises 7.8ha of Pinot Noir vines, 3.36ha of Chardonnay, 1ha of Syrah, and another hectare of younger Sauvignon Blanc vines that are not yet in production.
Marcel Giesen, one of the directors of the family-owned Giesen Wines, said the lease was immensely significant.
"Pinot Noir styles produced from this vineyard are frequently rated in the top 10 in New Zealand. For the past three years we have had an arrangement to take half the grapes produced by Clayvin but this full lease is an exciting milestone for us.
"We believe that Marlborough Pinot Noir has a huge future and we are concentrating a lot of time and effort on this varietal. New Zealand Pinot Noir is also gaining a growing following internationally and Marlborough is being recognised as producing excellent wines in this style," Marcel said.
"We see a huge future and all at the high quality end of the market. Fifty four per cent of all New Zealand Pinot Noir comes from the Marlborough region."
Marcel said the organic nature of Clayvin fitted with the growing focus that Giesen Wines are placing on their organic plantings, with 15% of vineyards now converted or in transition.
"We think the future of organic wine is significant. The grapes produced on the organic vineyards have a wonderfully intense flavour that is ideally suited to our ultra premium wines. But just because a wine is organic doesn’t mean we would automatically release it. It has to stand up on its own merit and be of equal quality if not better than the rest of our wines."
The recently released Marlborough Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2012 is already selling strongly.
Clayvin Vineyard takes its name from the clay-based soil that lies beneath the vineyard. The clay varies across the vineyard, allowing for the different varieties to be grown.
High density planting means Clayvin carries very low yields per vine, helping to produce wines of great concentration and richness. Clayvin boasts 5500 vines per hectare while a normal density Pinot Noir vineyard allows for 2000-2500 per hectare. The Clayvin vines are all hand tended.
"The high density planting creates natural competition between the vines so that they produce less fruit but of a higher quality. Traditional vines are usually a metre off the ground and stand around waist height - these are 500mm and just knee height," Marcel said.
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