Mount Edward, New Zealand
Maverick or genius, planting vines in the cold of Otago takes some nerve. These vineyards are on the edge of what is possible, the climate is so marginal. With a biodynamic approach and the reassuring chaos of a smallholding full of pigs and chickens the wines, especially the exquisite Riesling, win awards and praise worldwide proving that we should all try to be little bit different.
Mount Edward's winemaking approach is traditional. They are Organically certified in both vineyard and winery, although the wines themselves are not certified as organic in the UK. They use natural yeasts and minimal intervention at all stages to produce wines which reflect the vintage from which they came. The Central Otago climate and soils are unique with the parent rock being glacially derived schist. Most of the soils having been cultivated only a few times in the 100 years before the viticulturists arrived, and some not at all. The growing season is warm and dry with cool nights. It is a short season however, with a risk of frost early and late and they actively restrict crop levels managing the vine canopy to achieve balance and uniform ripeness regardless of variety.
Mount Edward aims to produce wines that reflect site and season, wines that have a sense of place and individuality. Their style is one of balance, elegance, supple structure and fine texture. To achieve this they believe winemaking should be restrained, organic, and use minimal intervention. Grapes are sorted by hand, either in the vineyard or at the winery. A variety of winemaking techniques, from the use of natural yeasts to whole bunch fermentation to extended barrel maturation are employed. They rarely fine or filter, instead looking for wines that have natural balance.
- The land and winery is certified by NZ Bio-Gro as Organic. The wines are not certified as organic in the UK.
- Take a holistic approach to viticulture which is close to biodynamics.
- Hand harvesting and minimal intervention in the winery. Natural yeasts, no filtration or fining.