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Record quality year for Spy Valley Wines

Record quality year for Spy Valley Wines

Spy Valley, one of New Zealand’s leading family-owned wine companies, has posted a record year in terms of results.

The Marlborough winery measures its success on quality not quantity. They stand apart with a point of difference – even in their name.

Spy Valley won three gold medals and two trophies – for their gerwurztraminer and pinot noir - at the 17th Air New Zealand Wine Awards in Auckland at the weekend.

This is regarded as an outstanding achievement for one of New Zealand’s biggest family-owned wine companies.

In just a few years the vineyard has jumped production from 5000 cases of five varieties to 40,000 cases in 2003. The 2004 harvest should net 50,000 cases, climbing to 120,000 cases by 2007.

Head winemaker Ant Mackenzie who has a major role in the operation says he can’t wait for the 2007 when they can release their wines with an eye-catching label: ``Spy Valley 007’’.

Interestingly, the company got its name from a US satellite monitoring base further up the road in the Waihopai valley.

So the name has caught on not just in New Zealand, Australia, Philippines and the United Kingdom but also the United States.

``We have won golds for sauvignon, pinot noir, gewurztraminer, chardonnay and merlot, so nearly across the range,’’ Mackenzie says.

``The Air NZ award is probably our best single show effort so far. The 2002 gewurztraminer won gold at the London International Wine & Spirits competition earlier this year. The previous NZ gewurz to do this was 10 years ago so it’s quite a good result.’’ Spy Valley has an ethos similar to New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming and All Blacks’ backs coach Robbie Deans of under-stating and over-achieving.

``We like to be understated,’’ says vineyard general manager Blair Gibbs.

``A little says a lot. We are struggling to provide enough wine at present to invest in new markets.’’ ``For the next few years we will be building up to full production. We moved into our new winery for the last vintage and are still working in a construction site. The builders still have another 12 months of expansion but public tasting area will be ready before this Christmas.’’

Spy Valley now has full control of the majority of fruit, all winemaking, bottling and warehousing. Their new facility was the largest winery construction in Marlborough last year. They strive to do most things differently. They have a young team involved and Gibbs is the oldest at 37. The vineyard of 360 acres is managed by two 23 year olds.

The vineyard also provides accommodation with Timara Lodge – a famous regional heritage building.

``There aren’t many wine companies in NZ who can offer luxury lodges with a winery attached., and none that are under single family ownership.’’

Timara Lodge is recognised as one of New Zealand's most luxurious and private lodges and set in 25 acres of one of New Zealand's most beautiful gardens.

Copyright 2003 Word of Mouth Media NZ

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