Central Otago, New Zealand
Harnessing the spirit and heart of the land
Hawkshead Vineyard was founded in 2005 by husband and wife Denis and Ulrike Marshall. Denis’ advocacy for nature and land use started in politics: he entered Parliament in 1984 and would go on to become Associate Minister of Agriculture with responsibility for horticulture, Minister of Conservation and Minister of Lands. German-born Ulrike Kurenbach, a Food Technology graduate, became involved in promoting New Zealand food and wine around the world upon her arrival in New Zealand. The couple’s combined passions and skills are the root of a very special project, producing some of the best kiwi Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris we’ve ever tasted.
In 1841 the naturalist William Swainson, Fellow of the Royal Society, settled in New Zealand and named his first home “Hawkshead”. His books and wonderful illustrations are still sought by researchers and collectors all over the world. More than a century later, his descendant Denis Marshal and his wife Ulrike would name their shared dream venture after Swainson’s colonial home and use one of his original drawings as the Hawkshead wine label.
Gibbston Valley, Central Otago was one of the areas first predicted, in 1895, to be of great potential for the production of Pinot Noir. After experimentation in many different microclimates in the region with different varieties, Gibbston Valley’s it was found the alluvial soils were best suited for the production of finest Pinot Noir. Denis was lucky to, in 1995, come across an ideal north-facing plot which he then bought and would eventually become the Hawkshead Vineyard.
Three hectares of Pinot Noir – all of which are farmed organically – were planted in 2001-2002. An additional two hectares of Pinot Gris were planted in 2006. These two varieties are Hawksdead specialty and have been honed to their most refined expression by the care and uncompromising standards with which the vineyards are managed. Each plot is hand worked, hand harvested and fermented separately. This allows for detailed tasting of each parcel and for careful blending, so as to bring the most pure expression of Gibbston Valley’s Burgundy-like terroir.
Location: Central Otago, New Zealand
Working with us since: 2019
Total area under vine: 5 hectares
Viticultural standards: accredited by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand Programme. Undergoing Organic certification.
Our pick of the best wine from this producer: Sauvignon Blanc
Interesting fact: Denis’ focus on careful land use and soil management extends well beyond the vineyard. In 2000 he was the Founding Chairman of the NZ National Parks & Conservation Foundation, a charitable organisation that has already raised over $2m to support a wide range of conservation projects throughout the country.