New Zealanders are people who don’t have a fear of having a go
'If you don't know Craggy Range, get acquainted, because I can't think of another wine company that's managed to roll Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire and Rhône styles into one harmonious group of wines so successfully.'
~ Anthony Rose, The Independent Newspaper UK
It’s a privilege to be the first here.
The founders of Craggy Range made a bold decision from the beginning - to pursue the Single Vineyard Philosophy of winemaking, with the ambition to produce not just the greatest wine New Zealand makes, but the greatest wines the world makes.
The thinking behind producing only single vineyard wines is that while every piece of land has potential, those with special soils and unique interactions with their meso-climate can produce wines with real character, quality and authority. The key is to find those special pieces of land.
'There is only one thing we ask of you and this is an open mind. Our wines and our ambitions are very different from what you might expect. This is a country of much more than vibrantly fruity affordable Sauvignon Blanc. We believe we produce some of the New World’s most inspiring fine wines, wines that are a true reflection of the place and people. We also believe these wines represent some of the best value fine wines in the world.’
~ Terry Peabody
Wine and Viticulture Director Steve Smith MW had a proven expertise in the selection of sites and the knowledge to produce wines with a unique sense of place. He gathered about him a group of people unafraid to break new ground, individuals who shared a spirit of restlessness and the desire to explore and constantly improve.
'You need to have people with the right farming attitudes.'
'Where to plant vines, choosing the clone and root stock, how to grow grapes, how to harvest them and how you’re going to make the wine - it’s a cultural thing that comes from experience and a link with an area. You need to have the right people. You need to have people with the right farming attitudes.'
~ Steve Smith MW
The pioneering attitude pervades the psyche - it partly explains how New Zealand has come from nowhere to somewhere in the world of wine in less than a generation.
It took almost 170 years for vines to truly become part of the culture and for New Zealanders to realise ‘our place’ had potential for creating wines that the world wanted to drink - many unlike any you have tried before.
When a ‘kiwi’ took the world's first internationally recognised Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough to London, they said he was mad. Then the wine that no one had ever heard of took out the public vote at the 1986 Sunday Times Wine Show and New Zealand became famous for its vibrantly fruity and affordable Sauvignon Blanc. Now new styles of kiwi reds are causing the world to think again.
New Zealanders are practical and intuitive farmers. They understand the land. Among the Maori (the native people of New Zealand), there is a belief that we are guardians of the land, descendants of the earth Mother (confusingly, called Papa) and the sky father, Rangi.
A lot of the fine-tuning is done by matching your farming practices to the year and not having a formula. There is no formula. There is experience, respect, and commitment to craft - absolutely meticulous craftsmanship - which is possibly another way of saying alchemy.
The Craggy Range wines, at first somewhat scene stealing, have refined over the years, developing a certain reserve, depth and maturity. Their ability to intrigue remains. The interest they exert lies in the restless nature of their makers and the qualities of the land itself.