Aotearoa lays down marker with purchase of two top estates

Drinks: Drinks, Wines

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.’

Pyramid Valley wines are available from Les Caves de Pyrene; Lowburn Ferry Wines are available from Daniel Lambert Wines and Cambridge Wine Merchants

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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