• LDH back in the USA

    Lawson’s Dry Hills, one of New Zealand’s most historic wineries, is proud to announce their return to the American market. The Marlborough winery is a leading producer of sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, chardonnay and other aromatic varieties and is globally recognized as one of the region’s premier estates.

    Sion Barnsley, the winery’s general manager, was excited about the announcement. “Our wines represent Marlborough’s most recognized varieties made in a classic and affordable style. We can’t wait for our wines to be on the shelves and tables of America’s wine enthusiasts.”

    The wines of Lawson’s Dry Hills were first exported to the United States in the early 2000’s and found immediate commercial success. “We are not new to the market,” observed Barnsley.

    “The wines of Lawson’s Dry Hills found immediate success when we first exported our wines years ago and we know that will happen again now that we are back.” Barnsley declared that “Our first task is to re-establish the close relationships we shared with the trade, press and, most importantly, the consumers across the country who enthusiastically supported our wines in the past.”

    The first container of wines has just arrived from New Zealand and are now available for sale directly to accounts in California. “The American market is very important to us,” noted Belinda Jackson, the winery sales and marketing manager. “By selling our wines directly, we will be able to provide high quality service and quickly respond to the individual needs of each account.” Plans for distribution in other states are underway.

    Among the wines that just landed are the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $18.99) which was declared to be “one of the region’s best” by noted New Zealand wine expert Michael Cooper. Also just arrived is the winery’s latest pinot noir from 2018 (SRP $24.99) that is certain to find a home on wine lists.

    For more information about the winery and any sales or marketing questions, please contact Belinda Jackson at [email protected].


    Lawson’s Dry Hills Estate began when Ross and Barbara Lawson planted their home vineyard in 1982. Those first grapes were quickly snapped up by local wineries which prompted the Lawsons to start their own winery ten years later. Today, the winery draws fruit from across the region, including from 125 of their own estate vineyards. Their wines have achieved international recognition at wine shows across the globe while satisfying wine critics who appreciate wines of intense character at a fair price.

    The winery currently produces sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir as well as a series of aromatic white wines made from Alsatian varietals. Small amounts of reserve wines are also made when conditions permit as well as “The Pioneer”, a series of small-lot wines sold mainly through the winery cellar door.

    Among the wines imported is their gewürztraminer, a wine that has achieved a cult-like following among wine enthusiasts. Joe Czerwinski of the Wine Advocate has “been a long-time admirer of this winery’s Gewurztraminer”.

    Lawson’s Dry Hills is a founding member of the Family of XII, a consortium of family-owned wineries dedicated to the promotion of New Zealand wines by developing long-term relationships through education and promotion of the collective’s artisanal philosophies. For more information on the family of XII, contact [email protected].

  • Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide 2020

    Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Gewürztraminer
    One of the country’s most impressive Gewürztraminers. Grown in the Home Block and nearby Woodward Vineyard, at the foot of the Wither Hills, it is typically harvested at about 24 brix and mostly fermented in stainless steel tanks; a key part of the blend (about 15 per cent) is given ‘the full treatment’, with a high-solids, indigenous yeast ferment in seasoned French oak barriques, malolactic fermentation and lees-stirring. The youthful 2018 vintage (4½ stars) is perfumed and weighty, with vibrant pear, lychee and spice flavours, gentle sweetness (6.7 grams/litre of residual sugar), and excellent delicacy, harmony and length. Best drinking 2021+

    Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Pinot Gris
    Still very youthful, the pale straw 2019 vintage (5 stars) is a basically dry style (4.8 grams/litre of residual sugar). Fresh and full-bodied, it has strong, ripe, peachy, slightly spicy flavours, a touch of complexity and a well-rounded finish. Best drinking mid-2020+

    Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Ranu
    For the distinctive 2017 vintage (4½ stars), Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer were co-fermented (Ranu means ‘to mix’) with indigenous yeasts in old oak barrels. Fragrant, citrusy and spicy, it’s a mouthfilling, concentrated wine, finely textured, with a sliver of sweetness (5.8 grams/litre of residual sugar), fresh acidity and impressive complexity and harmony. Well worth cellaring

    Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Riesling
    The youthful 2018 vintage (4 stars) is a single-vineyard, Waihopai Valley wine. Worth cellaring, it is medium-bodied, with strong, citrusy, slightly spicy flavours, and an off-dry (7 grams/litre of residual sugar), crisp finish

    Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
    One of the region’s best, widely available Sauvignon Blancs, this stylish wine is vibrant, intense and finely structured. The grapes are grown at several sites, mostly in the Southern Valleys, and to add a subtle extra dimension, part of the blend (7 per cent in 2019) is fermented with indigenous yeasts in old French oak barrels. The wine typically has strong impact in its youth, but also has a proven ability to age, acquiring toasty, minerally complexities. Light lemon/green, the punchy 2019 vintage (4 stars) is freshly aromatic, with strong, very youthful tropical-fruit and herbaceous flavours, showing a distinct touch of complexity, and a dry (2.9 grams/litre of residual sugar), appetisingly crisp finish. Best drinking mid-2020+

    Lawson’s Dry Hills Pink Pinot
    The 2019 vintage (4½ stars) is a characterful Marlborough rosé, brimful of flavour. Bright pink, it has generous strawberry and watermelon flavours, slightly spicy notes, and excellent vigour and length, with a dry (2.9 grams/litre of residual sugar) finish

    Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay
    Estate-grown in the Chaytors Road Vineyard, near the coast in the Wairau Valley, the 2018 vintage (4½ stars) was fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak barriques (25 per cent new). Already enjoyable, it has a fragrant, smoky bouquet, leading into a mouthfilling, sweet-fruited wine with concentrated, youthful, peachy, citrusy flavours, toasty notes adding complexity, and good cellaring potential. Best drinking 2021+

    Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris
    The finely textured 2018 vintage (4½ stars) was mostly estate-grown in the Waihopai Valley and 10 per cent of the blend was fermented with indigenous yeasts in old French oak casks. Pale straw, it is mouthfilling, with concentrated, ripe peach, pear and spice flavours, showing a distinct touch of complexity, and a smooth, dryish (5 grams/litre of residual sugar) finish. Best drinking mid-2020+

    Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir
    Still very youthful, the great-value 2017 vintage (5 stars) was grown at two sites in the Waihopai Valley and matured in French oak barriques (25 per cent new). Deep ruby, it is mouthfilling, concentrated and fruit-packed, with deep, plummy, spicy flavours, a firm underlay of tannin and the structure to mature well. Best drinking 2021+. The 2015 vintage (4½ stars), retasted in 2019, is also a very good buy. Deep ruby, with a fragrant, complex bouquet, it is full-bodied, with generous, ripe plum/spice flavours, finely balanced tannins and a long life ahead

    Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
    The 2019 vintage (4½ stars), grown in the Waihopai, Awatere and Wairau valleys, was made with some use of indigenous yeasts and barrel fermentation. Light lemon/green, it is a vigorous young wine, mouthfilling, with strong, freshly herbaceous flavours, oak complexity, and a dry (1.8 grams/litre of residual sugar), crisp finish. Best drinking mid-2020+

    Lawson’s Dry Hills The Pioneer Marlborough Gewürztraminer
    The stunning 2016 vintage (5 stars) is a weighty (14.5 per cent alcohol), fleshy, Alsace-style wine, estate-grown in the Home Block and barrel-fermented with indigenous yeasts. From 35-year-old vines ‘with trunks as thick as thighs’, it is a bright, light yellow/green, powerful wine, jam-packed with peachy, spicy flavours, gently sweet (18 grams/litre of residual sugar), finely poised and lasting. Well worth discovering

    Lawson’s Dry Hills The Pioneer Marlborough Pinot Gris
    The 2016 vintage (4 stars) is a single-vineyard wine, grown in the Waihopai Valley, hand-picked and fermented with indigenous yeasts in old French oak barriques. It’s a fleshy, full-bodied wine, with a gentle splash of sweetness (14 grams/litre of residual sugar), strong flavours of pears, peaches and spices, and very good complexity and richness

  • PINK Pinot by Lawson’s Dry Hills presented with another packaging design award

    We have received another award for the packaging design of our new Rosé, PINK Pinot!

    Winning the ‘Guala Closures Award for the Best Presented Bottle’ at the 2020 Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, follows the silver medal awarded at the UK’s Harper’s Design Awards 2019 in October.

    The label was designed by Jason Pettersen of Gusto Design, to give a more innovative edge to the Lawson’s Dry Hills brand. Commenting, Group Marketing Manager, Belinda Jackson explains, “This is very innovative for us, we did it so we could attract new customers to the brand whilst also giving some reassurance as it is  ‘by Lawson’s Dry Hills’”. She continues, “Looks are important and never more so than in the Rosé category. Trying to create something instaworthy and relevant to today’s wine lovers while continuing to promote the Lawson’s Dry Hills brand was an exciting project and we’re enjoying the results!”

    Made from 100% Pinot Noir, the juice was briefly left in contact with the skins before being pressed to stainless steel for a cool ferment with specially imported yeasts from southern France. The result is a deliciously fresh, highly aromatic and succulent wine with summer berry fruit flavours, juicy mid-palate and a crisp, dry finish.

    Based on the popular mandala design and dressed in silver, said to restore balance and pink for compassion and glamour, this exciting new wine should be enjoyed with great friends, delicious eats and inspiring conversation.

    Click here for more information and tasting notes

  • Latest awards and reviews for Lawson’s Dry Hills – March 2020

    We’ve received some great awards and reviews recently. While our focus is on making wines that we like to enjoy and share, it’s great to receive these independent quality endorsements. Here is a summary:


    Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2020

    • Gold – Chardonnay 2019
    • Gold – Pinot Gris 2019

    Sydney International Wine Competition 2020

    • Blue Gold – Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2018
    • Blue Gold – Sauvignon Blanc 2019

    International Wine Challenge 2019, London

    • Gold – Tekau 2017

    New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards 2019

    All silver medals

    • Gewürztraminer 2017
    • Pinot Gris 2019
    • Reserve Pinot Gris 2018
    • Lawson’s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2019
    • Lawson’s Dry Hills Pink 2019
    • Blind River Tekau 2017
    • The Pioneer Gewürztraminer 2016

    Six Nations Wine Challenge 2019

    • Double Gold – The Pioneer Gewurztraminer 2016 (sold out)

    Marlborough Wine Show 2019

    • Gold – Reserve Pinot Noir 2017
    • Silver – Sauvignon Blanc 2019
    • Silver – Riesling 2017
    • Silver – Pink 2019

    New Zealand International 2019

    • Gold – Sauvignon Blanc 2018
    • Gold – Mount Vernon Sauvignon Blanc 2019
    • Gold – Riesling 2017
    • Silver – Gewürztraminer 2017
    • Silver – Pink 2019
    • Silver – Reserve Pinot Noir 2017



    Winestate Magazine Best of Varietal Tasting

    • 5 stars – Tekau 2017

    Winestate Magazine Best of Best Value Wines

    • 5 stars – Sauvignon Blanc 2019


    Design Awards


    • Guala Closures Award for the Best Presented Bottle’ at the 2020 Royal Easter Show Wine Awards
    • Silver medal awarded at the UK’s Harper’s Design Awards 2019 in October.
  • Silver for PINK in 2019 Harpers Design Awards

    Brand new wine, PINK Pinot by Marlborough wine producer Lawson’s Dry Hills, has been awarded a silver at the Harper’s Design Awards 2019. The label was designed by Jason Petersen of Gusto Design, Nelson.

    Harpers is owned by Agile Media, a respected B2B drinks publishing and events company based in the UK. The company publishes Drinks International, Harpers Wine & Spirit and Drinks Retailing News.

    According to Harpers, the look and design of product packaging has never been more important in demonstrating brand values and giving cues to the quality of the liquid inside.

    In October a panel of designers and key on and off trade buyers were brought together to assess all the entries and deliver their expert opinion on which products have proven themselves worthy of a medal place and deserve to be category champions 2019.

    One of the judge’s commented on PINK, “Unique for wine and works well for rosé as well as price. Simple, unique, effective.”

    Commenting on the result, Petersen said, “It was fun and exciting to do something so different within the wine category and good to work with a producer willing to break the mould.”

    The full results will be published in Harpers Wine & Spirit and available to view all year round from 13 December 2019 at www.harpers.co.uk.

    For further information, contact Lawson’s Dry Hills Group Marketing Manager, Belinda Jackson [email protected] 03 578 7674 or Jason Petersen www.gustodesign.com

    Harpers Design Awards 2019 logo

  • PINK Pinot

    Lawson’s Dry Hills breaks the mould…

    You know the white label (our Estate range) and you know the black one (our Reserve range) but how about silver and pink?

    You can only make a first impression once…

    At last a Rosé that tastes as good as it looks.

    And we think you’ll be impressed. PINK Pinot by Lawson’s Dry Hills


    Well-known Marlborough wine producer, Lawson’s Dry Hills has stepped out of the expected and into the unexpected with the launch of PINK Pinot. Created to capture the imagination of those who are flocking to ‘drink pink’, the Lawson’s team see this as a great opportunity to add something dynamic and exciting to the portfolio.

    PINK’s label is based on the popular mandala design – the literal meaning of which is ‘circle’ which represents wholeness. A circle also denotes balance and perfection, important characters in great wine. The mandala also symbolises the universe, in a spiritual sense, and in meditation it is said ‘to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones’.

    PINK is made from 100% Pinot Noir from the company’s Chaytors Road vineyard close to the coast in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. The first grapes to be picked from the outstanding 2019 harvest, the juice was briefly left in contact with the skins before being pressed to stainless steel for a cool ferment with specially imported yeasts from southern France. The result is a deliciously fresh, highly aromatic and succulent wine with summer berry fruit flavours, juicy mid-palate and a crisp, dry finish (yes, this wine really is dry!). Winemaker, Marcus Wright says, “We have worked hard in vineyard and winery to craft a wine that is a much fun as the packaging – beautiful on the eye and delicious on the palate”.

    Dressed in silver, which is said to restore balance, and pink for compassion and glamour, this exciting new wine should be enjoyed with great friends, delicious eats and inspiring conversation.

    Available exclusively from EuroVintage, email [email protected] or call 0800 338 766.

    Contact information
    Belinda Jackson
    Group Marketing Manager, Lawson’s Dry Hills
    027 444 8 666
    [email protected]

  • Two trophies at the 2018 New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards

    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 [email protected] or call 03 578 7674.

  • Well done Rylee!

    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.

  • Lawson’s Dry Hills serves up top wines in Dish Magazine

    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.

    Click to read Dish Tasting Panel

    For further information, please contact Lawson’s Dry Hills Group Marketing Manager, Belinda Jackson [email protected] or by phone 027 4448 666.

  • Raymond Chan Wine Review – LDH Sauvignon Blanc 2017

    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

  • The Marlborough Flyer is on track

    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!


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