Amisfield Wine Company Celebrates Decade of Wine Production
Amisfield Wine Company Celebrates a Decade of Wine Production
Amisfield Wine Company celebrated its tenth harvest today cementing its position as a leading Central Otago wine producer and highlighting its influential role in the development of the region’s wine industry. Celebrations included a rare opportunity of a vertical tasting of nine vintages of the Amisfield Pinot Noir; all were impressed with the evolution, consistency and true expression site.
Amisfield’s first vines were planted in 1999 in Pisa near Lake Dunstan fulfilling the owners’ vision to select an appropriate site and grow quality pinot noir that is a reflection of the Central Otago region.
Vineyard Manager Andre Lategan considers the quality has improved every year and Amisfield has consistently adhered to its sustainable practices using minimal handling and manual hand labour in the vineyard.
“More than half the plantings have been made under my watch and we are very lucky because there are not many sites in the world that have this sort of climate with its extremes of heat and cold, which can produce such top pinot noirs as well as excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling wines. In particular we now have a valuable ten years of Pinot Noir growing under our belt. This is our flagship variety with an international reputation.”
The company’s first Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines were released in 2002 and at the time founding winemaker Jeff Sinnott claimed it was a milestone underlining Amisfield’s focus on natural winemaking processes.
“Wines must be a reflection of the vineyard site and nothing could be truer of Amisfield which grows its grapes near the shores of Lake Dunstan in the Cromwell Basin and relies on a hands off approach for making its wines.”
Ten years on Sinnott maintains the Amisfield Wine Company has been instrumental in the development of the Central Otago wine industry.
“We produced some great wines during my tenure there, seven as winemaker and two as consultant to the company. We celebrated success with the wines we created, the vineyard we ran and the buildings we designed and operated. I believe the brand occupies a well-earned position in the market, one in which Amisfield can be justifiably satisfied.”
The 2002 Amisfield Pinot Noir won Best Pinot Noir and a double gold medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition setting the trend for future vintages, all of which have received a range of national and international accolades, including the highly regarded Wine Spectator scores (93 points) awarded to the Pinot Noir 2005 and 2008.
Current winemaker Dr Stephanie Lambert says since the first harvest in 2002 it has been possible to trace the evolution of Amisfield’s still very young vines.
“Our wines are now showing their heritage and we are excited by this because, albeit small, there is now some history in both our vines and wines and we can look forward to building on this. We have continued to plant more Pinot Noir with new blocks of the interesting ‘able clone’ planted. We have also planted Chardonnay on the terraces above our winery and so in about three years we will have this wine available at our cellar door and bistro.”
The Amisfield Wine Company’s state-of-the-art production facility at its Pisa vineyard site was commissioned in 2006 and the 600-tonne capacity winery, which centres round a cuverie for Pinot Noir production is both an innovative and practical complex designed to enhance the company’s ‘grown not made’ philosophy.
“The winery has great flow so that the grapes are gently handled at all stages. Its capability was truly tested in 2008 when a record crop came off the vines resulting in the Pinot Noir 2008, which has received so much recognition,” says Dr Lambert.
Amisfield Wine Company has developed a strong global brand, in spite of being in its infancy. Dr Lambert attributes much of the success to the tight knit team which has spearheaded the label growing it into a widely respected product locally, nationally and internationally.
“Amisfield is renowned for its quality and consistency at all levels, we have achieved significant recognition since 2002. In a very short timeframe the Amisfield brand has developed into an established and acclaimed product and our distinctive marketing approach has contributed to this increasing awareness which can only become more established in the next decade.”