Maude Wines is a family-owned wine company, created by experienced winemaking couple Sarah-Kate and Dan Dineen. Producing hand crafted wines from their custom build winery amidst the stunning back drop of Lake Wanaka in Central Otago, New Zealand. The family estate vineyard, Mt Maude, was planted in 1994 on the steep north facing slopes of the sheltered Maungawera Valley just outside of Wanaka, Central Otago.
Dan and Sarah-Kate Dineen are a unique winemaking couple. When they married in January 2003 they were described as "the beginning of a new wine dynasty". Both are winemakers with a depth of experience in the Hunter Valley, Australia and Europe who have decided to move back to family and New Zealand, now making wine in the exciting region of Central Otago.
The Family, who own Mount Maude Vineyard, belonged originally to Sarah-Kate. A Kiwi, Sarah-Kates last role in the Hunter Valley was to design and oversee the building of the new Tempus Two winery and become its manager / winemaker. Sarah-Kate's achievements in Australia have seen her become a Young Achiever Scholar as well as a Len Evans Scholar, progress up through the wineshow judging system becoming a full judge and panel chair of many capital and regional wineshows throughout Australia, including the Sydney, Adelaide, Australian Boutique Winemakers Shows and Winestate Magazine. Since moving back to New Zealand she is already a Cuisine Magazine Panel Judge and has an exciting future ahead as a judge and mentor in the New Zealand wine industry.
Dan Dineen, Australian made, is the import and needless to say has been truly embraced by his new family. Dan studied at the prestigious Roseworthy College in Adelaide, South Australia and his CV reads like an impressive wine cellar. Initially trained under Brian Crozer at Petaluma in the Adelaide Hills, before he was called to the Hunter Valley to be given the responsibility of making one of the Australia's most awarded wines, the Lovedale Semillon from McWilliams Wines. His talents were soon recognized by Iain Riggs of Brokenwood, where he became the winemaker and guardian of the much sort after Graveyard Shiraz. While at Brokenwood Dan made the 1999 Rayner Shiraz, which went on to win the "Best Red Wine in the World" at the London International Wine Challenge.
Dan was then head hunted by Len Evans AO OBE, the doyen of the Australian Wine Industry, who offered him the challenging role of general manager / chief winemaker for his prominent and high-flying winery, Tower Estate. With Len Evans as the Chairman and Dan Dineen as the winemaker, Tower Estate fulfilled its promise of becominging highly successful and greatly respected in the wine world.
The experience, knowledge and passion these two have for making wine and the wine industry, will make them not only a force to be reckoned with but a tremendous asset to the New Zealand Industry and a new source of stylishly made wines for wine lovers you can imagine Muldoon and Len having a few words to say about that...
Wanaka: Nestled in the base of Mount Maude is a small Central Otago vineyard owned by Sarah-Kates' parents, Dawn and Dr Terry Wilson, in the beautiful Maungawera Valley near Wanaka, New Zealand. Dawn, a celebrated ceramic artist and Terry, a musically gifted doctor, had the foresight to plant Mount Maude vineyard in 1994 on a steep, north-facing terraced slope. The long dry autumn in Central Otago and the terroir of Mount Maude provide perfect ripening conditions for their grapes
Four hectares of Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are currently in production. The soil profile of clay and gravel mix is free draining and stable. A modification of the GDC trellising system allows individual vines to receive maximum exposure.
Other sub-regions within Central Otago that Maude source their grapes from include Bannockburn, Bendigo, Gibbston and Lowburn.
Bannockburn: Currently the most intensively planted of the microclimates, Bannockburn is a North facing crescent bordering the Kawarau River as it flows across the base of the Cromwell valley to its meeting with the Clutha River. This is a warm site which has a long fruit growing tradition.
Bendigo: Though relatively recently planted is one of the most exciting sub-regions and is possibly the warmest. Bendigo consists of a North facing ridge at the junction of the Cromwell and Lindis valleys, with more gentle Northerly slopes below it.
Gibbston: The first location to be planted in grapes, Gibbston is a north facing valley slope of The Kawarau Gorge, as it falls from Queenstown to Cromwell. The coolest of the sub regions, and visually very dramatic, it produces a distinctive intensity from the later harvest grapes produced here.
Lowburn: This area stretches from the township of Lowburn up the Greater Cromwell valley for some 25 kilometers. As it is one of the warmer regions, Pinot Noir seems to ripen here without the need of slopes.
The distinctive pungency and zest fruit flavours of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc captured the imagination of both national and international wine commentators and consumers, which sparked an unparalleled vineyard boom in the region. Worldwide interest in Marlborough wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc, has continued to fuel that regional wine boom.
Within the region, viticulture has been developed primarily on sites with moderate low fertility and a noticeably stony, sandy loam top soil overlying deep layers of free-draining shingle, as found in the viticulturally developed areas of the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. These shallow, fast draining, low fertility soils help to produce a lush, aromatic ripe wine because they reduce the vines vigour.
Since leaving their last roles as winemakers / general managers at the prestigious Tower Estate and Tempus Two wineries in the Hunter Valley, winemakers Sarah-Kate (SK) and Dan Dineen have quietly built a winery, a new home, developed the Maude wine label and started a family amidst the stunning back drop of Lake Wanaka in Central Otago, New Zealand. It is no surprise to wine industry insiders that their wine, Maude, has become an instant success. But like any supposed 'instant' success there lies an enormous amount of energy, experience and professionalism behind a project, which epitomises this winemaking couple.
Part of the motivation to move to Central Otago was the eternal search for the Holy Grail of winemaking, Pinot Noir perfection, and to join forces with Sarah-Kate's vineyard owning parents, Dawn and Dr Terry Wilson. The family were excited by the opportunity to combine Sarah-Kate and Dan's strongly held belief in sourcing grape varieties from the regions that they best perform in, complementing the exquisite small quantities of single vineyard fruit that Dawn and Terry produce at their Mount Maude vineyard.
Hence 'Maude' was created to showcase the very best of New Zealand's wine growing regions and currently consists of a Central Otago Pinot Noir and naturally, a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, with plans afoot for a Pinot Gris to join the fold. In comparison Mount Maude Wines continues to be solely from the family vineyard and in the future will be the pinnacle of the brand.