The piece of earth we call home lies on the Martinborough Terrace at the lower end of the North Island of New Zealand. This geological deposit of weathered river borne sandstone and windblown dust was formed approximately 20,000 years ago at the confluence of the Huangarua and Ruamahanga rivers. Embedded in the deeper gravels sourced from our Tararua range are seams of clay and ferrous oxides, more recent sandstone and limestone material has migrated from the eastern coastal and contributed to the Appellation.
Our 2.2ha vineyard was planted in 1986 to Pinot Noir and Syrah varietals. It enjoyed organic farming practices through most of the 90’s and early 2000’s; some herbicide was applied prior to our purchase of the property in 2006. We quickly reverted back to organic methods and introduced bio-dynamic practices in order to ignite the biology and seek the finest expression of the site’s potential.
In those early days of Cambridge Road, I was able to complete all vineyard tasks myself - an important step in the pursuit of the high quality and soulful winemaking that I strove for. Today we conduct the work with a small core team that help with all the diverse tasks of running a wine company in this age. Today we practice sensitive minimalist agriculture – by that I mean we attempt to intervene as little as possible to allow the vines their natural balance and reflection of season and soil.
In the winery we’ve progressively stepped further back from intervention. In recent years this means almost no use of sulphites and no additions of any other kind. Our wines today are simply the honest living reflection of fruit fermented by nature and bottled simply with nothing added or stripped away. My reasons for this are simple; in my opinion clean farmed organic fruit is fundamental to a wines potential to be healthy for human consumption. Once the wine is fermented with a diverse population of natural microflora, including lactobacillus, it’s important to not filter these away. In the same way that beneficial anthocyanins are part of red wine, we choose to draw on skin and seed coat extraction of many white varieties thereby increasing their tannic and antioxidant gifts to the wine. These methods also mean we can mostly avoid the need for sulphite additions which can be harmful to some consumers.
Today we source fruit from four main sites in the greater Martinborough area. South of the village we have an aromatic’s block on a very stony edge of the Dry River which taps into more ancient geology, and just a few kilometers south of there we also have a steeper hillside site laying to the setting sun on a subsoil of windblown loess. Up in the hills to the north a tiny block exists on a fossilized shell rich soil at higher altitudes. I look forward to developing other sites in the future that tap into the best geology and exposure our part of the world can offer. We hope you take some time to explore our work and that it finds a place in your heart as it has in ours.