Clark Estate is a boutique family vineyard situated high in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough a beautiful, picturesque spot at the top of New Zealands South Island.
Our two brands, Clark Estate and Boreham Wood, are both premium quality, pure, single vineyard wines produced from our own Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling vines.
All our wines carry the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand logo to reflect our continuing commitment to protecting our environmental integrity and to improving our social and economic sustainability.
We hope you enjoy discovering our wines and sharing our passion.
Located right beside the Awatere River where the main river is joined by the Black Birch Stream, the Boreham Wood vineyard has a lower terrace all in Sauvignon Blanc and an upper terrace with Pinot Gris and Riesling. These two terraces have been uplifted over geological time. The vine roots grow within silts and gravel which are free draining and sit on an impervious mudstone layer. This limits root growth and therefore stresses the vines slightly and encourages maximum fruit quality. The various cliffs around our vineyard show off this soil structure and give the viticulturist full confidence in the natural control of yield. The stony soil also results in the mineral, stone-fruit flavours that are so characteristic of Awatere wine.
All our vines are planted in north-south rows with 2.5 metres between rows and 1.5/1.8 metre vine spacing. Within a traditional vertical shoot positioning (VSP) trellis structure, the two fruiting wires provide flexibility when it comes to deciding how many canes to lay down. Usually, we want no more than 40 buds on a mature vine and three canes provide these.
The Awatere Valley is very dry and sunny but it is also a little cooler than the neighbouring Wairau Valley so our growing season lags the Wairau by a couple of weeks. Frost is always a problem for us, mainly in the late spring of mid-November when the delicate inflorescences can easily be destroyed and sometimes in the autumn when the leaf canopy can be blackened overnight. Fortunately, as the fruit ripens on the vine we usually have dry, hot, sunny days and very cool nights, the perfect combination for developing intense, concentrated flavours while still retaining fresh, crisp acidity.
The Awatere Valley is also famous for its north-westerly wind. Through summer this wind severely dries the soil but it works positively in a number of ways too. It controls yield naturally as the vines can shut down during a strong wind. It limits the canopy vigour and reduces the amount of trimming and leaf-plucking we have to do to ensure the grapes see sunlight and air. Lastly, it quickly dries the bunches after a rain or heavy dew late in the season, reducing the botrytis risk.
It is hard work for vines to grow and ripen grapes in the Awatere Valley. The roots fight for room and the shoots have to battle with the extreme elements. Every season the vines try and produce the most flavoursome grapes to attract the birds that might carry their seeds elsewhere. The grapes would rather not grow in the Awatere Valley because it is too hard. Therefore we as wine drinkers get to enjoy the best flavours these vines can produce every year high quality grapes are both paramount for the wine and essential for the vines.
We endeavour to manage the vineyard so it is sustainable in the long term, both environmentally and economically. By operating within the guidelines of the Sustainable Growing New Zealand scheme we have been an accredited vineyard since 2004. And by operating as a family concern we carry out most of the work ourselves, ensuring our external costs are kept to a minimum.