Business South May 2021

| 59 VITICULTURE The rise and rise of a Hunter’s classic T Richard Loader A family affair: Edward Macdonald (nephew), Jane Hunter, James Macdonald (nephew), Peter Macdonald (brother in-law). Hunter’s Wines A N G L O P A C I F I C I N T E R N A T I O N A L w: www.anglopaci f i p: (03) 358 8191 e: info@anglopaci f i ‡ AIRFREIGHT ‡ OCEANFREIGHT ‡ LOGISTICS ‡ TIME CRITICAL ‡ CUSTOMS BROKERAGE ‡ PROJECT CARGO Avon Insurance Brokers have share a great history with Hunters Wines and are proud to be associated with such a successful organisation. Avon Insurance specialize in providing sound sensible insurance advice to all types of commercial enterprises throughout NZ and have an extensive experience in the unique insurance needs of the wine industry. Our clients have directly benefited from our 40 plus years’ experience working with insurance providers in New Zealand, particularly in times of disaster when the correct insurance advice is invaluable. View our website and contact either Brendan or Allan for expert help. | 03 365 7171 5a Seven Mile Drive, Belfast, Christchurch 0800 106 828 NZ nationwide delivery / We also take your products to the world I n her 34th vintage of Hunter’s Wines’ famous Sauvignon Blanc, Jane Hunter says that for 34 years she has been asked when the bubble was going to burst — and it never has. Reflecting on the last 12 months, Jane has been staggered by the outstanding demand for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that has stripped supply. “One of our cellar door people said it’s such a fresh lovely wine; perhaps it reminds every- one in Europe about summer and nicer things than what they may be going through. There’s a freshness about the wine that people really like. They know what it is — it’s so easy to pick a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in a blind tasting. People just seem to really enjoy it.” Sauvignon Blanc and Marlborough go hand- in-hand — an amazing two-some with perfect climatic conditions complementing amazing soils. Equally, Hunter’s Wines and Sauvignon Blanc also go hand-in-hand. Located in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley, Hunter’s Wines was established in 1979 by a visionary Irishman from Belfast, Ernie Hunter, who crafted the first vintage in 1982, and mar- ried Jane two years later. At the time Jane was working for Montana Wines as their national viticulturist. “In 1986 Ernie took one of Hunter’s wines to the Sunday Times Vintage Festival in London and it won ‘Wine of the Show’, the first time a New Zealand wine had done anything spectac- ular like that.” The wine was a 1985 Fume Blanc, an oak aged Sauvignon Blanc that really introduced New Zealand wine to the world, gaining signifi- cant publicity here and abroad. Jane shudders at how Sauvignon Blanc was grown back then and how green and grassy the wine was. But she says the oak tempered it down giving it more muted European notes that better matched Europe’s taste profile. The year after Hunter’s Wines launched its brand and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc onto an unsuspecting world stage Ernie was killed in a car crash and Jane has headed Hunter’s Wines ever since. From 24 hectares of its own vineyards Hunter’s Wines has grown to 60 hectares, along with some leased vineyards and a select handful of contract growers. “We started with a very basic winery that was doing 150 tonne and we now produce 2000 tonne each year. We’re only a medium sized winery but we have very good niche markets around the world. We have been conservative in how we have grown but we all sleep well at night.” The winery and some of the original vineyards sit on Raupara Road, while other vineyards are scattered all around the valley, taking advantage of different microclimates and soil types enriching the grapes with differ- ent flavours. Table wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Gruner Veltliner, while sparkling wines are becoming increasingly popular and the recipient of many awards. Made from French Champaign grape varie- ties — Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Char- donnay — the wine is fermented exactly like French Champaign. “We make three sparking wines — a Non-Vintage that sits on lees fermenting for 18 months, a Pink Rose, and a Reserve which sits on lees for three and a half years. They are all under our label Hunters MiruMiru™. Mirumiru is the Māori name for bubbles.” Looking to the future, Jane says one of Hunter Wines strengths is the second gener- ation and two off her nephews now play key roles; Chief Winemaker and Administration/ Production. “We’re only a medium sized winery but we have very good niche markets around the world.” “We’ve maintained many of the contacts Ernie made from just a few years in the busi- ness. “We still deal with the same people he dealt with in Northern Ireland even though it’s a second generation. “And we deal with a very long-standing customer, Laithwaite’s Wine, in the UK, and again that’s now in its second generation. With my two nephews in the business the second generations are looking good for the coming years.”