Akarua expands in Central Otago

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 11:42 27/08/2014
Southland Times photo
JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN/Fairfax NZ
SPARKLER: Akarua winemaker and general manager Matt Connell with the Akarua Rosé Brut NV, which was awarded the Gow Langsford Gallery Trophy for Champion Sparkling Wine at the Spiegelau International Wine Competition Awards.

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A Central Otago winery has snapped up two established vineyards to meet demand for wine from a premier wine-producing sub-region.

Akarua announced the purchase of the two vineyards on Felton Rd and Lowburn this week.

Akarua, established in 1996 by Sir Clifford Skeggs, is the largest family owned vineyard in Central Otago with single estate holdings in Cairnmuir Rd, Bannockburn.

Skeggs Group managing director David Skeggs said the company had looked at buying a developed vineyard in Central Otago for the past two years.

''We are very pleased to be able to secure these two notable sites in Central Otago. It will provide us with the ability to develop the Akarua brand and to meet the growing demand for our wines from our customers.''

Bannockburn was widely regarded as the ''grand cru'' site in Central Otago and the addition of a 26-hectare vineyard at the end of Felton Rd would significantly enhance Akarua's vineyards in this sub-region, reinforcing the family's belief that it was the premier wine producing sub-region in Central Otago.

A second parcel of 15 hectares had also been bought in Lowburn.

Akarua winemaker Matt Connell said he was excited by the opportunity these vineyards provided.

''It takes production size up to 100ha ... it's quite positive. We are reinvesting in the region in a serious way," Connell said.

''These additional vineyards will provide us with quality estate grown fruit that we require for the continued successful growth of the Akarua brand. We are particularly looking forward to exploring the subtleties and nuances of sub-regional blends and development of further single vineyard wines.''

Akarua celebrated a win with its sparkling range with Akarua Rosé Brut NV winning the Gow Langsford Gallery  Trophy for Champion Sparkling Wine at the Spiegelau International Wine Competition awards dinner in Auckland  this month.

''This trophy goes a long way in cementing our position as one of New Zealand's top sparkling wine producers. This demonstrates the consistent quality of the wines and the suitability of Central Otago as a region to this wine style with its semi-continental climate and viticulture.

''We are really well known for pinot noir as a region and company so it adds another string to the bow with another wine style.''

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