Steve Smith MW, one of New Zealand’s best-known and most respected viticulturalists, has described himself as ‘seriously excited’ by his new company’s first two vineyard acquisitions: Pyramid Valley Vineyards and Lowburn Ferry Wines.
They are a strong statement of intent for Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Enterprises (ANZFWE) – the venture that he set up earlier this year, with the American investor and conservationist, Brian Sheth.
Biodynamically certified, Pyramid Valley, in North Canterbury, was set up by Mike and Claudia Weersing in 2000 and has gone on to become one of the most respected producers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the country, its wines selling to the trade in the UK for over £30 a bottle.
Lowburn Ferry Wines is a 3.5 hectare Pinot Noir vineyard on a north-facing terrace in the mountain-ringed continental climate of Central Otago. Its 2014 won the Air New Zealand Wine Awards trophy in 2016.
Smith, who set up and ran Craggy Range for many years, and was the first viticulturalist to attain a Master of Wine in 1996, said: ‘I feel somewhat humbled that we will become caretakers and curators of what I consider to be two of the greatest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards in the world.’