The Hay Paddock
Hay Paddock Waiheke Wines are the result of a 30-year search for the perfect variety and the perfect location for the production of an outstanding cool climate red. The single-vineyard estate at Onetangi Valley on Waiheke Island specialises in Syrah from low-cropping vines sourced from the Rhone Valley. Hand made and cellared for up to 3 years prior to release, these are internationally acclaimed wines for connoisseurs, collectors and all lovers of fine wine.
Most grape vines grow upwards towards the sun, but Syrah heads for the ground. Most grape vines have canes as strong as wire hawsers yet Syrah snaps at the slightest touch. And while most grapevines respond to trimming by moderating their growth, Syrah responds by growing a dense forest of laterals.
The viticulturist intent on producing the best possible fruit must accept that constant work on bud selection, canopy management and leaf stripping will be required throughout the growing season. For this reason alone the best Syrahs will always be expensive to produce and, allied with the contribution to quality that comes from the deliberate reduction of crop yeilds, that is unlikely to change.
The importance of grapevine material resources to the improvement of New Zealand wines over the last 20 to 30 years is underestimated. A rapid expansion of available virus-free clones has benefited all varieties. However, by its very nature, the propagation of clones produces a uniformity of type that could be considered one-dimensional. The genetic variation that has occurred in areas like the Rhone Valley, where Syrah has been growing for hundreds of years, is very wide. Berry shape, bunch size, skin thickness and time to maturity can be markedly different. Rather than making ‘clonal’ selections, generations of winegrowers have made vineyard or ‘massal’ selections based on the best performing individual vines for their circumstances. These massal selections are beginning to influence New Zealand vineyards.
The Hay Paddock has achieved Accredited Vineyard status under the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand programme and adopts a soil improvement regime with a strong bio-dynamic influence that includes companion planting, green manure and composting of all winery waste. A minimalist approach is taken to fungicide usage with preference given to organic elemental sprays and the encouragement of mycorrhizal fungi. Diversity of insect and plant life is being achieved through the establishment of riparian plantings along boundaries and waterways and through the planting of a heritage orchard and vegetable gardens.
- The Hay Paddock Syrah 2006 (International Wine and Spirit 2008)
- The Hay Paddock Syrah/Petit Verdot 2007 (International Wine and Spirit 2010)
- The Hay Paddock Harvest Man Syrah 2007 (International Wine Challenge 2009)
- The Hay Paddock Syrah 2007 (International Wine Challenge 2009)