Media release for immediate publication
24 October 2018
Champion Sauvignon Blanc and Champion Gewurztraminer for Marlborough’s Lawson’s Dry Hills at the New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards
Lawson’s Dry Hills has been awarded two trophies at the 2018 New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards
The company’s Awatere Valley, single vineyard wine, Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2018 won the Antipodes Water Company Champion Sauvignon Blanc trophy while the Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewürztraminer 2016 received the Riedel New Zealand Champion Gewürztraminer trophy.
Commenting on the results, Chief Winemaker, Marcus Wright said, “It’s great to receive the Gewurztraminer trophy – that’s three years in a row and we’re delighted, but to be recognised for one of our Sauvignon Blancs is very exciting.” He continues, “The Blind River vineyard is a very special site and superbly looked after by our Viticulturist, Mark Ludemann and his team.”
The Lawson’s Dry Hills team are no strangers to awards, receiving eight gold medals in the last two weeks from New Zealand-based shows. Group Marketing Manager, Belinda Jackson comments, “Awards are great recognition of the wines we love to make. Five out of the six grape varieties we produce have been awarded gold medals this month which is great for us and for our distribution partners around the world.”
From humble, yet pioneering beginnings 25 years ago, the small team at Lawson’s Dry Hills continue to explore what they can do differently, do better. From grape to glass the company has ownership of every part of the process and believes this total control is an important part of making top quality wine.
For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 578 7674.
Pleased to bring you this article from Stuff.co.nz about our wonderful Rylee:
Marlborough lab technician and cellar hand Rylee Funk is the first person to graduate with a national qualification designed to upskill workers in the Kiwi wine industry. 24-year-old Funk worked at Lawson’s Dry Hills in Blenheim and recently completed the New Zealand Certificate in Cellar Operations Level 3, a qualification designed by Competenz to form a career pathway for cellar staff. Originally from Canada, Funk was travelling New Zealand when she landed a temporary job at Lawson’s during the harvest. A few harvests later with some travel in between, she took up a permanent position in the winery.
How did you decide to get into the wine industry?
I worked my first harvest at Lawson’s Dry Hills in 2015 then I came back 2016 and never left! So it was all bit accidental – I never thought I’d end up in the wine industry!
What is your favourite aspect of working in a winery?
Tank cleaning and bottling. Just kidding. Tasting and harvest.
What motivated you to go after the qualification? What is the value of it to you?
Seemed a pretty easy option to learn on the job and turned out to really further my knowledge particularly around H&S and compliance.
Do you have a favourite wine or a wine pairing?
Burleigh Pork Belly Pie with the Lawson’s Pioneer Gewurztraminer! Or a good Chardonnay.
What was the most difficult part of the studies?
As a Canadian learning about New Zealand’s wine history, it was all new to me!
Will you continue studying cellar operations, or are you aiming for a winemaker role?
I’m certainly thinking about Level 4 but I’m also looking at other study options.
Well-known for their aromatics, Marlborough wine producer Lawson’s Dry Hills has two wines in the top six of the latest Dish Magazine tasting, including the top spot. Taking first place with the Pioneer Gewurztraminer 2016 and sixth with the estate Gewurztraminer 2016, this is further proof of the company’s ability to in produce outstanding quality wines.
Chief Winemaker, Marcus Wright, delighted with the acknowledgment said, “Gewürztraminer may not be a big seller, but it’s been our calling card for many years”. He puts it success down to the vineyard, “With vines that are over 35 years old and grown on clay soils, you certainly see intensity of aroma and flavour, but also texture.” He explains, “These wines feel weighty in your mouth, almost viscous, they leave an incredible impression.”
As if to reinforce this point, Dish Magazine’s Yvonne Lorkin described the Pioneer Gewürztraminer: “I love how focused, flavoursome, concentrated and multi-layered this gewürztraminer is,” while Jo Burzynska agreed saying, “It’s big, rich and generous – just what good gewürz should be.” Third judge, Cameron Douglas MS commented, “So well-made, I could drink this all day.”
Lawson’s Dry Hills are offering trade and media an opportunity to taste a ten-year vertical of Gewurztraminer at their up-coming tasting being held in Auckland on 9th October.
For further information, please contact Lawson’s Dry Hills Group Marketing Manager, Belinda Jackson email@example.com or by phone 027 4448 666.
Lawson’s Dry Hills celebrated 25 years of winegrowing last year, and it is well-established as one of Marlborough’s stalwart producers with a wonderful reputation for the quality of its wines, especially with Sauvignon Blanc and the aromatic varieties. Sion Barnsley is general manager and director, his family being shareholders from the start, and Marcus Wright is the winemaker, with the company since 2001. Marcus is assisted by Rebecca Wiffen, and the viticulturist is Mark Ludemann. The current wines, sourced from vineyards in the Wairau, Waihopai, Omaka and Awatere Valleys have never been better, and the 25 year celebratory ‘Ranu’ co-fermented wine shows the open-mindedness of the team with respect to winemaking styles. Here, I review the 2017 Lawson’s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc. www.lawsonsdryhills.co.nz
Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 * * * * *
Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour with some depth. The nose is firm and well-packed with a core of passionfruit harmoniously melded with nettle, cut-grass, green capsicum and snow pea aromas, unveiling some chalky mineral notes. The aromatics are layered and detailed. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a tightly bound heart with penetrating and intense flavours of passionfruit intermixed with nettles, fresh herbs, snow peas and nuances of minerals. The fruit has richness and sweetness and is enlivened by racy acidity, and the wine carries with good energy along a very fine-textured line. This has concentration and linearity, and the wine carries to a very long and sustained finish of passionfruit, herbs and nettles. This is a firmly-packed, intense, rich-fruited Sauvignon Blanc with real linearity. Match with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from 5 sites, in the Waihopai, Dashwood, outside Renwick and on Alabama Road, fermented in stainless-steel with 7% indigenous yeast fermented in seasoned French oak barriques to 12.5% alc. and 2.2 g/L RS. 18.5/20 Apr 2018 RRP $20.00
Oct 3, 2017
The magnificent heritage steam train that will launch on 1st December this year between Picton and Blenheim has been officially named “The Marlborough Flyer”.
Comments Paul Jackson, managing director of Pounamu Tourism Group, the company behind the Marlborough Flyer, “The name was partially inspired by the Kingston Flyer which has links to the region (we respectfully acknowledge the recent sad passing of the late David Bryce from Renwick who purchased The Kingston Flyer in 2011), and which also used Ab class locomotives, the same class that the Marlborough Flyer will operate. The emotions and passions of the old “Flyer” days still stir deeply amongst rail fans throughout New Zealand.
Marlborough is fast becoming a world-famous region; attributable in part to her beautiful natural assets, like the Marlborough Sounds and surrounds, and in part to the marketing efforts of the burgeoning wine and food industry, aviation heritage and numerous other successful business enterprises. Marlborough is establishing itself as a recognisable brand overseas, so with these two pillars combined (“Marlborough” and “Flyer”), the christening of The Marlborough Flyer was one which resonated with all stakeholders and rail fans alike.”
Mr Alan Piper, Group General Manager Sales and Commercial at KiwiRail says, “The Flyer is a great local initiative celebrating New Zealand’s rail heritage while providing a boost to the region. KiwiRail is always keen to support tourism in our regions and has seen a big increase in our tourism services bringing economic growth to areas such as the West Coast and Marlborough. There is a real romance to rail travel that international tourists are looking for as well as local enthusiasts, and still no better way to see our glorious countryside than by train.”
It is hoped that the added attraction will assist to improve the overall cruise ship visitor experience in Picton and in doing so encourage more cruise ship visits to one of the most popular ports in Australasia.
Mr Ian McNabb, CEO Port Marlborough says, “We have supported The Marlborough Flyer right from the outset as it will offer something unique to cruise ship visitors at our port, something which adds another unique selling point for cruise ship agents and owners. It is our hope that Port Marlborough will soon have as many visits as the busiest Cruise Ports in the country. The Marlborough Flyer is another feather in our cap.”
The support from big business has been positive and early on some prestigious brands have identified value in being associated with The Marlborough Flyer. They have taken “ownership” of Carriage Sponsorships, all five carriage sponsorships are now sold. The brands that have supported the venture from the onset, in doing do have made the “Super Sunday Specials” financially viable at reduced rates for the general members of the public – credited for this are Saint Clair Family Estate, The Ned of Marisco Vineyards, Lawson’s Dry Hills, Peter Ray Homes and Harcourts Marlborough.
Full steam ahead for The Marlborough Flyer!
When the earthquake struck Kaikoura in November 2017, its effects were more far reaching than many first realised. A number of Marlborough wineries felt the impact as some lost power, others suffered damage to their tanks and as a result ended up losing a quantity of wine. So on the surface, the damage seemed relatively minimal. Yet Rebecca ‘Bec’ Wiffen, assistant winemaker at Lawson’s Dry Hills, has noticed a more lasting effect to the 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura earthquake.
As Bec commented recently, “We’ve noticed that the water table has actually risen and as a result many of the vineyards around the Marlborough region seem to be wetter than normal.” So maybe it hasn’t simply been the winter rains which have caused some of the low-lying vineyards to remain quite damp.
Bec is very hands-on when it comes to all aspects of the winemaking process, so naturally she is very sensitive to any changes that are happening in the vineyard. Bec has had to deal with a range of conditions having worked for several wineries around New Zealand. She’s also worked in the Napa Valley in California, and in the Alsace and Languedoc regions of France, so dealing with acts of nature is all part of a day’s work. However, earthquakes are something beyond what any of us in the wine industry can plan for.
To learn more about Bec’s observation, it was time to dig a little deeper to truly understand what has actually happened underground.
Peter Davidson, water scientist with the Marlborough District Council, has been monitoring changes to the ‘aquifers’ – which are the underground layers of water-bearing rock – from which wells source groundwater supply. “The 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake caused ground water levels to rise up to six metres at some Marlborough District Council monitoring wells across the region. On the day of the earthquake, the ground water level rose from 68 to 73 metres above sea level. ”
When Peter spoke to the Marlborough Express earlier in the year, he highlighted the immediate effects of the earthquake. “The largest changes were associated with deep wells penetrating aquifers formed of compressible clays rather than from gravels alone,” he observed. After the earthquake, water came rushing up in the wells causing them to overflow, with the water in some rising by four to five metres causing it to seep into the ground. “An aquifer in Ben Morven rose by four metres, while water in another aquifer rose by five and a half metres. It destroyed our water monitor.” he said. At that stage it was unknown what the longer term impact would be to the underground water supply. “We are still learning from the Christchurch earthquakes and what effects they have had, so it’s still early days.”
So what has actually happened since the earthquake? Looking for instance at the 400 metre deep Marlborough District Council well in Hawkesbury Road in the Omaka Valley, “The groundwater level has largely returned to its pre-earthquake level,” Peter commented “But other aquifers like the one at Ben Morven, for example, have remained high and show no sign of falling.”
In Marlborough, water supply is important for not only drinking water, it is also critical to the local vineyards and the agricultural industry in general. Marlborough enjoys some of the most idyllic grape growing conditions in New Zealand, with high sunshine hours, free draining soils and low rainfall. In fact, parts of eastern and southern Marlborough are amongst the driest regions in the country, according to the Marlborough District Council. Most vineyards in the area are irrigated, which means underground water is a lifeline and any changes to this water supply need to be carefully monitored.
While water from below is one concern, water from the heavens is something else. The 2017 harvest presented many vintners with additional challenges with the after-effects of Cyclone Debbie battering much of the country back in April. As Bec Wiffen pointed out, since Lawson’s Dry Hills has its own mechanical harvester, the vineyard is better able to harvest at precisely the right time as they don’t have to depend on the availability of mechanical harvesters operated by outside contractors. So for 2017, they were able to work with the weather and bring the grapes in before the storms.
As wine lovers eventually come to enjoy the excellent wines produced by Lawson’s Dry Hills from the 2017 vintage, maybe they’ll raise a glass to the winemakers who had to withstand more challenges than normal. This year, even more so than with previous releases, enjoying your favourite wine from Lawson’s Dry Hills will be moving experience.
Jul 7, 2017
Yachting New Zealand and Lawson’s Dry Hills wines a great match.
The New Zealand sailing fraternity have had plenty to celebrate in recent days and can now do so in style after a partnership between Yachting New Zealand and Lawson’s Dry Hills wines was signed last week.
Lawson’s Dry Hills have become the official wine sponsor of Yachting New Zealand for the next three years. Just as matching wine is important when it comes to dining, this partnership is also destined to be a great match with both parties committed to excellence and innovation.
As a Marlborough producer with strong distribution abroad and at home, Lawson’s Dry Hills are also committed to local communities. The partnership will see them connect with sailing clubs around the country.
“There has never been a more exciting time to join New Zealand’s sailing fraternity,” Lawson’s Dry Hills group marketing manager, Belinda Jackson said. “With our own love of sailing here in the Marlborough Sounds and our extensive range of wines, we are delighted with the opportunity this partnership presents and we look forward to supporting Yachting New Zealand at every level.”
The Lawson’s Dry Hills’ label was launched 25 years ago. Today, the company’s wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and their famous Gewurztraminer, all made from fruit grown in the Wairau, Waihopai and Awatere Valleys.
“There are many fine vineyards in New Zealand but this partnership with Lawsons Dry Hills is a perfect match for all occasions,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. “With both organisations having similar strategies, Yachting New Zealand looks forward to what the future holds.
“There are certainly exciting times ahead with the America’s Cup coming to New Zealand and an expectation of growth in the marine industry. We look forward to sharing in the opportunities and ongoing success of Lawson’s Dry Hills.”
• For more information, please contact Yachting New Zealand communications manager Michael Brown on 021 677 618 or Lawson’s Dry Hills group marketing manager Belinda Jackson on 027 444 8666 or see www.lawsonsdryhills.co.nz or yachtingnz.org.nz.
Jun 20, 2017
Marlborough is one of the world’s most consistent grape-growing regions when it comes to the climate. Known for the long growing season with hot days and cool nights deep into autumn, wines from this province continue to thrill the world.
This year, the season wasn’t quite as predictable and this gave our skilled viticultural and winemaking teams the chance to draw on their expertise and really shine.
From bud-burst on, the 2017 growing season was warm and dry which led to good flowering and fruit set. Summer arrived with typically warm days, although there was above average rainfall during February and again during April.
Vintage started for us with the harvest of the Pinot Noir for the Rosé, then Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, all of which were in perfect condition. Each varietal showed lovely, authentic flavours and moderate brix levels.
The rest of the Pinot Noir was picked revealing intense flavours and colour, we are excited about all these wines, all of which show great promise.In between these varieties we made several picks of Gewürztraminer and Riesling, the Riesling in particular had a little botrytis which will give the wine a desirable hint of nectarine and apricot as well as added complexity and mouthfeel.
Our carefully managed yields meant we achieved satisfactory ripeness levels and could therefore harvest the Sauvignon Blanc before the major rain period had a significant effect on the fruit quality. This is also when our autonomy really gave us a huge advantage, our ability to pick and crush with no reliance on outside sources allowed us to harvest each vineyard block at its optimum.
The resulting wines possess lovely, lifted passionfruit characters and will display the typically pronounced varietal characters and the flavour profiles that we know our customers enjoy.