Winemaker Profile: Esk Valley

June 27, 2011

The Esk Valley Estate is situated in picturesque surroundings in the Hawke's Bay area of New Zealand's North Island. Vines were first planted here in the 1930's under the name of Glenvale Winery, primarily for the production of fortified wines. This operation came to an end in the seventies.
Esk Valley was established in the same winery buildings a decade later and over the last twenty years has been run independently, producing wine under the guidance of Senior Winemaker, Gordon Russell. Many of the vinification techniques used are dictated by the original features of the winery, including large, old concrete fermentation tanks and a lack of modern machinery, which demand a hands-on and simple approach to the winemaking.

Grapes are sourced from both the Gimblett Gravels local to Hawke's Bay and the southern clay-soil areas of Wairau Valley and Awatere Valley in Marlborough. Esk Valley produce wine from a wide range of varieties, all of which show the common thread of the elegant, fresh Esk style. The Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are Marlborough grown, while all other varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Verdelho, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec are from Hawke's Bay. Esk Valley has pioneered the use of some of these varieties in New Zealand, in particular the Verdelho.

There are three ranges produced by Esk Valley; the Esk Valley Range, the Winemaker's Reserve and the Terraces,a premium red blend only produced in exceptional vintages from vines in the terraced vineyard behind the winery.

There will be a chance to a sample a selection of Esk Valley's wines at Connolly's New Zealand Tasting at the Drop Forge Bar in the Jewellery Quarter on 12th July.

For tickes and information contact eleri@connollyswine.co.uk





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