Our 17 hectares family vineyard is one of the first developed in Marlborough’s Awatere valley.
When we bought our land in 1985, there were no vineyards in the Awatere valley. By the time we planted in 1993, there were only 40 hectares of vines in the ground, compared with approx. 7000 hectares in 2014.
Set in a prime position, our vineyard includes Cabernet Franc grown for our distinctive Franc Rosé, as well as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Our vineyard was planted at a density of 3800 vines per hectare in 2.2 metre rows, with 1.2 metres between vines, the first to use grafted plants in the Awatere.
A mixture of clones has been grafted onto 101-14 rootstock, double guyot pruned to the appropriate bud number, to keep a balanced vine.
Our vineyard is on a low vigour site, on the north bank of Marlborough’s lower Awatere River, facing the sun and five kilometres from the sea. Silty loess soils cover glacial river gravels, encouraging the vines to develop a large, deep root system, without becoming over-vigorous. This results in balanced vines, producing low yields of highly flavoured, fully ripe fruit. The proximity of the river provides air movement during cold periods in spring and autumn, ensuring a frost-free environment. The prevailing summer wind is the warm Nor'West, keeping both fruit and vine dry and healthy.
The northern aspect, river terrace environment and climate, provide a truly special “terroir”, expressed in the McBride-Sillig family’s wine.