Expatrius Vineyard owner Eoin O’Shea sets out the vision: Expatrius Vineyards are not a bulk wine producer. We focus on highly selective cultivation and crop with passion and care. This ultimately yields small amounts of premium wine. With the skill of our highly accomplished and experienced winemaker, Luc Desbonnets, we aim to produce wines that we hope will be appreciated by those in search of something special, wines evocative of heritage and traditions that span centuries, but still carrying their own unique signature. The integrity of our wine is everything to us, and that means not being held hostage to a rigid annual commercial cycle. We are willing to take tough decisions to make sure standards are not compromised. For example, in 2011 we chose not to produce an Expatrius Syrah or Expatrius Blend of 8 as we did not feel the vintage conditions in that year had the potential to produce an ultra-premium wine.
Winemaker - Luc Desbonnets
Luc Desbonnets was born in New Zealand to a French immigrant father and a New Zealand mother. Luc studied viticulture and winemaking in Bordeaux, France and began his winemaking career in 1989 in Chinon, France. Luc is the owner of 8 Vineyard one of the two vineyards which make up Expatrius Vineyards and he has been instrumental over the past 12 years in the making of several highly sought after ultra-premium red wines from Waiheke Island where he lives with his wife and three children.
Expatrius Vineyards comprises two select locations on Waiheke Island, each chosen for their unique character. All the vines were selected and planted by winemaker/viticulturist Luc Desbonnets. Luc continues the daily oversight of our two vineyard sites and personally attends to all winemaking matters. All Expatrius wines are sourced exclusively from these two sites.
There are eight acres of vines, incorporating eight separate parcels of vines. There are eight varieties of red wine grapes and one variety of white. Three rootstocks and nineteen different grape clones have been carefully selected to ensure that the vineyards are expressed to their full potential. Output will vary with vintage quality, but highly selective cropping will typically result in a gross output of approx. 700-800 cases of wine per vintage.
While the two vineyards share the same general warm maritime climate, they are each quite unique.
Both vineyards are planted at a relatively high density vine spacing with a total of 5500 vines / hectare. This encourages intense sub soil inter-vine competition which provides a smaller vine with a tendency toward low vigor and a significantly lower per vine grape yield requirement, resulting in improved wine concentration, depth of flavor and wine aging ability.