Neudorf Vineyards, Nelson

Nelson is the sunniest viticultural region in New Zealand. Relatively isolated, it has never developed into large scale production but several wineries have established an excellent reputation for quality. Prime amongst these is Neudorf, created by pioneers Tim & Judy Finn back in the late 1970s. The winery buildings have developed steadily since 1980, and so has the reputation of this excellent producer specialising predominantly in chardonnay and pinot noir. Their flagship wines are designated by the subregion of Moutere.

One of the early adopters, in 1978 Tim Finn returned to the land, moving from Hamilton into the Moutere wine area of Nelson. He planted a mix of grape varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Riesling and even Muller-Thurgau to see which took.

Tim recalls that Herman Seifried was already dug-in next-door, and generously offering advice to his new neighbours. Orchard fruit production was then the norm; grapes a novelty. The Neudorf estate, lying on a mix of glacial outwash clay, now represents 12ha, though buys in fruit from a further 30ha (of managed vineyards). Brightwater is a famed Riesling vineyard, notable for its open aspect and free draining boulder, glacial soils.

The estate is also revered for the quality of its Moutere Pinot Noir wines, whose vines are littered with sea-shells bought in from the local port; the thinking being they increase the UV light reflection.

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