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Cape Coast sea breeze ideal for new Riesling vineyard

Cape Coast sea breeze ideal for new Riesling vineyard

Clearview Estate in Hawke’s Bay is taking advantage of an abundant natural resource – the onshore wind fondly known on the Cape Coast, as ‘the doctor’.

Over 400 Riesling grapevines have been planted in its Te Awanga front paddock over the past week, and the sea breeze, in addition to the stony soil, will have a big impact on the resulting wine style.

The new Riesling vineyard is considered to be among the closest to the sea in New Zealand, and Clearview winemaker and co-owner Tim Turvey says the wind will cool and moderate grape ripening.

The now transformed paddock is not new to vines; it was the vineyard originally owned and planted around 100 years ago by Antony Joseph Vidal, a pioneer of the local wine industry. Stumpy remains of vines are still growing and are visible in areas of the vineyard.

For Matt Kirby, Clearview winemaker, it’s exciting times. He has a background of making Riesling wine in Austria, central Otago and the Clare Valley, South Australia, where he made his first Clearview connection, befriending Tim Turvey’s daughter Katie while on a young winemakers’ committee.

“It’s going to be great to make a different wine style. We’re expecting we’ll be creating a dry-style Riesling in three or four years’ time,” says Mr Kirby.

Although Riesling is not entirely new for Clearview, it’s been about 20 years since the variety bore the winery’s label. The variety was phased out as palates and demand changed but it seems tastes are changing again.

“There’s a growing interest in aromatic wines and we’re always keen to keep abreast, if not ahead of what consumers are looking for while complementing our restaurant menu,” says Clearview co-owner Helma van den Berg.

The Clearview Estate team is hoping it can emulate its neighbour, Beachhouse Winery, which took out a gold medal award for its Riesling in the New Zealand International Wine Awards announced earlier this month (1 October).

“We’re thinking that the Te Awanga coast is a great Riesling terrôir and will provide Central Otago healthy competition for award-winning wines in the future,” says Mr Turvey.


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