West Coast Vineyard with associated Luxury Accommodation, Award winning Restaurant, Cellar Door and extensive Function Centre
Our Story below
Taranaki has very little history of vine growing and wine making. The earliest record is of a monastery that existed briefly on Koru road in the late 1800's where vines were grown and wine produced.
In 2000 the current owners had a vision of establishing a winery. Land was purchased close to the coast and the current vineyard was established. Because of the spectacular views it was decided to share these by means of a restaurant and accommodation.
Currently the site has an award winning Restaurant, extensive Function Centre, Cellar door and two Luxurious Chalet accommodation units. Plans are in place for a further six accommodation units to be constructed.
2002 saw the first grapes being planted. Initial varieties tried were Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Savignon Blanc and Pinotage. The site is very exposed to weather from the South and West resulting in most plantings failing. Pinotage was the only variety that showed some resistance to our weather. Therefore subsequent plantings have been of Pinotage except for a small experiment with Gewürztraminer.
Of interest, the cuttings identified as Pinotage, were obtained from a retired Kiwifruit grower, Mr Vern Evans. Upon retiring he had experimented with a number of grape varieties in a well sheltered situation and had determined that this Pinotage, given to him from a very good friend of his who ran a nursery, was the most suitable variety for Taranaki that he had tried.
Our vineyard is, and probably will always be a compromise. To share the spectacular views we can not shelter too much, however to achieve consistent harvests we require shelter from the October and November South Easterlies which roar down off the mountain just when the vines are getting going, vegetation is at its softest and flowering is initiating. We also have the salt laden South Westerly and Westerly winds to contend with. These typically come later in the season, stripping foliage and the power house that feeds the developing berries.
So the compromise is we have started to develop more extensive shelter belts to protect from the Early South Easterly wind, this may mean we loose some of the view to the mountain from the upper car park. Below the Restaurant and Chalets the shelter that is being established will be much smaller in stature so the view of our coastline is not lost.
However, when we do get a harvest, the wine produced has a unique and marvellous character to it, soft but with lots of fruit character.
We are now at harvest of 2018 and some things have changed. We have had our vines DNA tested as while the wine character seemed close to the classic South African Pinotage, the vine and bunch character seemed different. The test confirmed we did not have Pinotage, but a cross called Plantet
Plantet is a red winegrape variety that was one of the hybrid grape created by French physician and grape breeder Albert Seibel. While the exact parentage of the grape is unknown, the most popular theories has it as a cross of two Seibel grapes, Seibel 867 x Seibel 2524 with another theory speculating that Plantet's parentage was Seibel 4461 crossed with Berlandieri-Jacquez. Plantet is grown primarily in the Loire Valley around Anjou and is known for its prolific yields that the vine can produce. The vine is generally reliable and disease resistant, producing well even after suffering through a spring frost, however the berries tend to be difficult to crush which, along with the uprooting of hybrid varieties throughout France, has contributed to the varieties decline in the later half of the 20th century.
Plantet was likely bred by Seibel to be a winter-hardy variety and to some extent it is. Growers in the Loire and many northern French wine regions found that the grape still produced high yields despite severe winters and late spring frost when many other varieties