Vavasour Wines, established in 1985, pioneered viticulture in the Awatere Valley. The winery is located thirty minutes south of Blenheim on the stony river terraces of the Awatere Valley. It is an area of stark and majestic beauty. Scorching sun and dry winds result in ripe and concentrated fruit that turns into some of New Zealand’s best wine.
Vavasour makes very good Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Vavasour Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2005 was awarded 91 points by Wine Spectator magazine. Premium wines are branded Vavasour, while younger drinking wines that are made from grapes grown in the Awatere Valley and the neighbouring Wairau Valley are labelled Dashwood and Clifford Bay.
Stu Marfell - Winemaker
Stu was born and raised in the Awatere Valley not far from the original Vavasour vineyard. A graduate of Lincoln University, Canterbury with a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology, Stu joined Vavasour Wines in February 2003 as Assistant Winemaker. Stu became our Winemaker in 2007 and was a Finalist at the 2008 & 2009 Young Winemaker of the Year Awards.
Susan Van Der Pol - Assistant Winemaker
Susan Van Der Pol was raised in Blenheim, the centre of Marlborough’s wine industry. In 2002, she was awarded a diploma in Viticulture & Wine Production from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. Susan then spent two vintages overseas before returning to New Zealand and eventually joining the Vavasour team as Assistant Winemaker in 2011.
The Awatere Valley is a sub-appellation within Marlborough. It has deep Greywacke soils compacted over millions of years by ancient glaciers. Huge boulders, carried down the Awatere River, are strewn across the valley floor. The vineyards are partially protected from the prevailing north-westerly winds by a broad range of mountain peaks. Awatere valley wines are particularly prized for their intense aromatics, ripe flavours, dynamic textures and concentration.
Vavasour’s 85 hectare (196-acre) estate vineyards are located in one of the marquee sites for growing grapes in the Awatere Valley. The climate here is noteworthy for its wide diurnal temperature swings; the soils are low in fertility and comprised of stones and pebbles mixed with clay and loam. The rainfall ranges from 279-406 millimeters (11-16 inches) a year, arid by any measurement.
The Vavasour family traces their ancestry back to the Norman invasion of England. One Vavasour ancestor is thought to have been a 'taster' for William the Conqueror. The rooster on our label is from the family crest and is an indication of the family's lineage.
The Vavasours arrived in New Zealand and established themselves in the Awatere Valley in 1890. Nearly a century later in 1985, Peter Vavasour identified the Awatere Valley as the new frontier for New Zealand wine growing and planted the first grapes there. Vavasours first vintage was 1989; within three years they were garnering high accolades and had officially put Awatere Valley on the map of great wine making regions.