Saint Clair buys prime Hawke's Bay vineyard

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 12:20 09/01/2014

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Nearly 20 years on from its establishment in Marlborough, Saint Clair Family Estate has bought its first vineyard outside the region.

Managing director Neal Ibbotson said the company bought the 14-hectare vineyard in the prime Gimblett Gravels region of Hawke's Bay in October.

Syrah would be the main variety grown on the vineyard, but there was also cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec.

Saint Clair had been sourcing fruit from the vineyard for years, and the purchase meant they would have more control over it. "It's a good opportunity for us," Mr Ibbotson said.

"We know the quality of the fruit so for us it expands our product range and allows us to produce some of the Hawke's Bay varieties for which they are known and respected," he said.

Prior to the Hawke's Bay purchase, Saint Clair bought three new vineyards in Marlborough which they had also already been purchasing fruit from.

The Marlborough additions increased Saint Clair's vineyard area by 39ha, producing predominantly sauvignon blanc as well as a small amounts of chardonnay, Mr Ibbotson said. One of the new spots covers 5ha in the Awatere Valley, land which neighbours an existing Saint Clair vineyard, while the other new sites, a 16ha block and 18ha vineyards, are in the Lower Wairau region.

Fruit from the Hawke's Bay vineyard would be trucked to Marlborough and processed in the winery. Gimblett Gravels is known for its free-draining soils.

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- The Marlborough Express

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