Thursday, 16 February 2023 15:25

Altogether Unique: Waitaki

Written by  Sophie Preece
Dave Sutton Dave Sutton

Two hours and a climatic chasm from Central Otago, Waitaki has a its own place in the tapestry of New Zealand wine.

Te Kano Winemaker Dave Sutton works with grapes from the continental climate of Central Otago, and the maritime climes of its eastern neighbour, so sees the striking difference daily.

“When I left Central this morning it was 24C and when I got here it was 16C,” he says, describing Waitaki’s season as similar to other wine regions influenced by La Niña, with more cloud cover promising a longer harvest.

Like Central Otago, Waitaki’s soils are derived from big geological events, but much of it was under sea before that uplift, so there’s limestone with glacial material, says Dave, excited by the impact of that unique soil mix on their wines.

Working in a region with just 59 hectares of planted vineyard has its challenges, particularly because it’s “not on the radar” of a lot of service providers.

“So sourcing labour though contractors is challenging, and equipment servicing and repairs is difficult.”

People have to be more resourceful, he says, “But most people here have a No.8 wire mentality and manage to find unique solutions to unique problems.”

More like this

Altogether Unique

Telling the New Zealand Wine brand story, and what makes it truly unique and distinctive on the world stage, has been a key focus over the past year.

Haere Ra 2023: Waitaki

From Te Kano Estate in the Waitaki Valley, winemaker Dave Sutton offers insights into the year that was.

Celebrating something Altogether Unique

New Zealand's wine industry celebrated its legends, its achievements, its resilience, and its potential at an industry celebration in Christchurch on 1 November.

» Latest Print Issues Online


Editorial: Plenty of tears

Editorial: Plenty of tears

OPINION: Rachael Cook is the smiling grape grower on this month’s cover, tending vines on the miniscule, beautiful and dream-driven vineyard…

Popular Reads

Ten years of Méthode Marlborough

New Zealand wine enthusiasts have a deepening understanding and growing appreciation of sparkling wine, says Mel Skinner, Chair of Méthode Marlborough…

Sustainability Success

Taking two sustainability awards at two events on a single evening felt like "true recognition" of the work Lawson's Dry…