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Te Awa on the rise after years of uncertainty

Real Kiwi battler wine label Te Awa on the rise after years of uncertainty

From being an exposed gravelly old Hawke’s Bay river bed to making one of the best wines in New Zealand, Te Awa is back on the national stage again after several years of uncertainty.

The Te Awa 2007 vintage was one of nine chardonnay labels to win gold at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards which is the country’s No.1 wine competition. Their achievement is one of the major success stories of the annual awards.

A total of 1655 wines were entered the awards with the gala award function to be held in Christchurch on Saturday night.

Te Awa typifies the real Kiwi battler image from almost struggling to clawing back up and joining the elite band of wineries.

Te Awa general manager and winemaker Ant Mackenzie said the result was hugely significant for a winery that has been at the crossroads for some years.

``This gold will help turn our winery around and I’d like to see Te Awa become one of the best boutique producers in country. Te Awa made good wine in the past but probably not as good as they, or the market, thought it was. I am putting my reputation on the line to turn this business around and winning gold at the top NZ wine award is pivotal to this strategy,’’ he said.

Mackenzie won a fistful of awards as Spy Valley’s chief winemaker for many years but recently took on the challenge at the 50ha Te Awa block which has been producing 25,000 cases a year.

Mackenzie plans to cut production back to 10,000 to 15,000 cases a year and pitch the brand at the top end of the market to beat the global wine glut.

Te Awa is owned by Julian Robertson, who also owns the Dry River label and the Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers luxury resorts.

Established in 1992 by the Lawson family, Te Awa is sited in the renowned Gimblett Gravels premium winegrowing region. The land, once an older river bed area, used to be used for grazing years ago and was part of the original Longlands Station.

The Te Awa winery and restaurant established a reputation and received accolades as a leading single estate producer in New Zealand and on the world stage. Troubled times behind them Te Awa is back again.


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