Our focus begins in the vineyard, where we closely manage and nurture the vines to ensure we get the highest quality fruit, expressive of our terroir.
Waiheke Island, Auckland
The foundations of Cable Bay Vineyards are firmly anchored in wine growing. We grow grapes in our own, carefully selected vineyard sites in the most desirable locations of New Zealand; Waiheke Island and Marlborough. Each vineyard is planted with varieties and clones ideally suited to that unique site and climate.
Our Waiheke vineyards are situated at the western end of the island and are planted with Pinot Gris, Viognier, Marsanne, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Malbec. The vines grow atop bedrock of ancient sandstone and mudstone from the Jurassic period. The soil that blankets these strata is composed of mainly weathered rock and clay, criss-crossed by mineralised veins and coloured by iron and manganese oxides. Our wines derived from these sediments are distillations of millions of years of earth’s history. Beautiful minerality and texture in the wines result from this geology, and exceptional palate weight is influenced by our clay soils.
The surrounding sea has a large bearing on the climate. The cool sea breezes during the day, coupled with the insulating effect of the sea at night, results in a climate where diurnal temperature variation is minimised. Therefore the mean temperature throughout the growing season is kept quite high, making it possible to ripen varieties from warmer climates, such as the Rhône Valley and Bordeaux. The maritime influence also renders marked characteristics upon the wines, making them delightfully distinctive.
Awatere Valley, Marlborough
Our Awatere vineyards enfold the banks of the Awatere River and are planted with Marlborough stars; Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.
The Awatere Valley has become a renowned sub-region of Marlborough, with a global reputation for growing high-quality grapes that are vibrant and expressive of their unique terroir. Our carefully selected site benefits from naturally terraced land, which steps down to the Awatere River. The region is blessed with low rainfall and low vigour soils, predominantly formed from wind blown loam and greywacke alluvial gravel, which lends remarkable structure, texture and body to the wines. A distinct minerality found in Awatere wines has led to comparisons with the famous Loire Valley white wines of Sancerre. This likeness inspires us, in the winery, to create ageworthy, complex, expressive Sauvignon Blanc from our special sites.
Like Waiheke, the climate in the Awatere Valley is heavily influenced by the ocean, but in quite the opposite way. Here the intense heat and sunlight of the day is cooled by ocean winds channelling up the valley, which increases the diurnal temperature variation and therefore extends the ripening season beyond that of the rest of Marlborough. The ocean winds contribute positively to viticulture in that while it limits canopy growth and yields, it also ensures the berries grow thick, protective skins, which contribute beautifully to the structure of the final wines, especially our Pinot Noir. The wind also decreases the risk of spring frost, and keeps the vines dry and healthy.
We believe that our environment greatly impacts wine quality, so we are happy to announce that we have converted our Cinders Vineyard to organics under the BioGro regime.
Our Awatere vineyard is set up in the ‘old world’ way, with vines low to the ground and close together. Vineyard work here is a labour of love, but means we enjoy low yields of top quality fruit.