Hawkes Bay

Hawkes Bay has long been a famous wine region of New Zealand and is home to many of the historic wine estates of New Zealand. Its climate is mild, influenced by its proximity to the ocean allowing for a long growing season and accumulation of flavour. It has a number of sub regions from which Esk Valley sources its grapes.

Esk Valley/ Bay View

This is the northern most sub region of Hawkes Bay and home to the Esk Valley winery. Ten kilometres north of Napier it has a long history of occupation that stretches back 500 years. Maori villages dotted the hilltops none more important than Heipipi Pa that stood atop the current Terraces Vineyard. This is the warmest of the Hawkes Bay sub regions with very mild winters and now vineyards share the fertile lands with avocados, stone fruit and citrus orchards. This sub region is the home to Esk Valley’s finest Chardonnay and also The Terraces vineyard at the winery site.

Esk Valley Winery – The Terraces, Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay
Howard Vineyard – Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay
Barber Vineyard – Pinot Gris

The Gimblett Gravels

Until a massive flood of 1867, the largest of Hawkes Bay’s rivers the Ngaruroro, flowed through what is now known as the Gimblett Gravels.

When the river changed its course following a massive flood in 1867 it left behind 800 hectares of free draining, highly infertile gravel, which seemed to have little value to a pastoral community. Located 15km inland, it’s not subject to cooling sea breezes which are a feature of many of the other Hawkes Bay sub regions. Importantly, not only is the air hotter here, the ground is too, due to the heat retentive properties of the stones. So poor was the land that it was used for army munitions training, a drag strip and mining for gravel.

The first winemakers attracted to the infertile gravels planted vineyards in the late 1970’s and their success led to widespread planting in the 1990s and early 2000’s. Today, the Gimblett Gravels is a trademarked name with a defined boundary and is rapidly becoming one of the most famed New World terroirs, winning attention as its red wines collect awards and accolades around the world.

Ngakirikiri – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec
Omahu Gravels – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah, Verdelho
Cornerstone – Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet franc

Maraekakaho, Ohiti Road, Dartmoor Valley

These inland sub regions of Hawkes Bay share similar soils and micro climates. The vineyards of Maraekakaho and Ohiti Road are on opposite banks of the Ngaruroro River upstream from the Gimblett Gravels. The Dartmoor Valley is further west on the banks of the Tutaekuri River. These vineyards all share gravel based free draining soils and given their distance from the ocean, tend to have very warm days and cool night time temperatures. This diurnal difference produces lends itself to elegant and fragrant wine styles, most of which are white.

Keltern – Chardonnay, Pinot Gris
Davies – Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot (Rose)
Talbot – Chardonnay, Merlot (Rose)