• The earth moves for Lawson’s Dry Hills

    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.

  • Yachting New Zealand & Lawson’s Dry Hills Wines – A great match.

    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.

  • Vintage report 2017

    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.

  • Cellar Door winter opening hours

    May 23, 2017

     Our Cellar Door is going on to winter opening hours.

    This weekend May 27th/28th will be our last weekend opening, we will be closed on weekends during June/July/August.

    We will reopen for weekend trading on September 2nd 2017.

    The Cellar Door remains open Monday to Friday – 10.00am to 5.00pm.

  • Gold Medal for Lawson’s Dry Hills Riesling 2015

    The Lawson’s Dry Hills Riesling 2015 has been awarded a GOLD MEDAL at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2017, this award comes hard on the heels of the same wine being selected as FIVE STARS AND BEST BUY in the March issue of Cuisine magazine(issue 181) “This Riesling has length and elegance”.

  • American Airlines & Lawson’s Dry Hills

    International Business Class

    American Airlines have confirmed our multi award winning LDH Sauvignon Blanc 2015 will be poured in business class as part of their inflight pouring program for 2016.

  • Sauvignon Blanc Day – May 5, 2017

    Come and see what happens when Winemaker and Cheesemaker meet…

    Apr 20, 2017

    International #SauvBlanc Day is on Friday, May 5. Join Marcus (Lawson’s Dry Hills winemaker) and Simon (Cranky Goat cheesemaker) to discover what makes goat’s cheese and Sauvignon Blanc taste so good together.

    Enjoy our three top Sauvignon Blancs – Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve 2016, Blind River 2016 and the very limited Tekau 2014, paired with Simon’s specially matched cheeses.

    Tastings at 11am, 12pm, 1pm and 2pm at Lawson’s Dry Hills Cellar Door, Alabama Road, Blenheim $10 per person. Bookings necessary as just eight people at a time. Please call 03 578 7674 or email wine@lawsonsdryhills.co.nz

You must be 18 years old to visit this site.

Please verify your age