Churton is a small Marlborough winery, owned and operated by Sam and Mandy Weaver. Churton has been exporting its wine since 1997. Our winemaking is focused on producing premium quality Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Pinot Noir and very small quantities of Petit Manseng that combine the renowned flavour and aromatic intensity of Marlborough fruit with the finesse and complexity characteristic of fine European wines.
This meld of old world / new world attributes reflects Churtons heritage as the product of a pioneering Englishman from Church Pulverbatch (known locally as Churton) in Shropshire England, who has been making wine in the Marlborough region since 1989.
Sams path, from fine wine merchant in the London wine trade to one of Marlboroughs most respected winemakers and winemaking consultants, spans more than 25 years industry experience in the vineyards, wineries and wine markets of New Zealand, England, France and eastern Europe.
Winemaker - Sam Weaver
Sams path, from a rural farming background, through fine wine merchant in the London wine trade to one of Marlboroughs most respected winemakers and winemaking consultants, spans more than 25 years wine industry experience. During a career that has included roles as Chief Wine Maker at The Stoneleigh Winery (then Marlboroughs 2nd largest winery) and winemaking consultant to numerous New Zealand wineries, Sam has been quietly crafting well-known brands and building a vast knowledge of Marlboroughs terroirs and winemaking. Combine a love for the land, technical skill and experience with the invaluable palate training and consumer insight Sam acquired as a professional buyer of fine wines in London and the result is a rare blend of market knowledge, sensitivity to the vineyard and winemaking expertise.
These credentials underpin Sams vision to produce a sophisticated wine for fine wine palates. His determination to create wines that capture the intensity of flavour and aroma of Marlborough fruit and combine these with the length, texture and finesse characteristic of great European wines requires an uncompromising and disciplined approach. His style demands high quality fruit, strict control in the vineyard and the use of Biodynamics which he believes helps express the site through the quality of fruit. These and the most incremental of adjustments help him finely tune the resulting wines.
Grapes are sourced exclusively from our home block in the Waihopai Valley where the mature blocks are currently in conversion to organic status with Biogro.
As a region, Marlborough benefits from a long cool growing season and has free draining soils. It is protected from adverse weather conditions by mountain ranges to the South, West and North and is bounded by the sea to the East. In a cool climate like that of Marlborough, it is essential to ensure very good vineyard management. This involves working closely with the soil and the entire site as well as the vines themselves. Soil management is a key element in organic vineyard management. Learn about Biodynamics at Churton.
With the vines, we aim for open canopies and well balanced vines with limited grape yields. Our yields for both Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are strictly limited to the extent that we shoot thin early in the season and then later on will crop thin.
The vineyard sits 200m above sea level on a spectacular Northeast-facing ridge between the Waihopai and Omaka valleys in the Southern Valleys area of the Wairau plain.
This site allows for minimum water usage as the hills in this region are composed of clay like material called loess that has very high water holding capacity. The wine from each block is kept separate and to date The Abyss block is our best performing block – it was first planted in 2000 and according to Claude Bourguignone, the French soil scientist is not dissimilar in characteristics to Romanée Conti.
Early wine making results are proving that this vineyard site will produce outstanding wine. Our first vintage from this vineyard in 2003 produced fruit with intense concentration and very fine mature tannins and great length.