Viticultural processes are completed by hand, not by machine, part of a philosophy called “footsteps in the vineyard” that emphasizes an intimate contact with the vines and the land.
Terroir & Vineyards
Craggy Range vineyards are managed sustainably, with maximum natural input and minimal synthetic input.
Hawkes Bay and Martinborough
Craggy Range’s two principal estates are located in Hawkes Bay, in the northeast of the North Island, and in Martinborough, at the southeastern tip of the North Island. The two are climatically and geologically distinct. Hawkes Bay is a warm, dry area that has a climatic profile similar to southern Napa and Bordeaux. A vine variety planted in Hawkes Bay ripens three to five weeks earlier than if it were planted in Martinborough.
Martinborough, at the south end of the North Island, and Marlborough, at the north end of the South Island, are very similar to each other in soil profile and climate, and both are known for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The small differences, however, are critical. Martinborough's spring is cooler and its autumn warmer, resulting in a harvest roughly 10 days later than in Marlborough. Rainfall is also nearly identical, but its distribution is different: Martinborough is wetter in the spring and drier in the fall than Marlborough, removing the risk of rain with a late harvest. As a result, the wines are more extracted, complex and structured, with more subtle aromatics and greater elegance. This is why Craggy Range’s second estate vineyard, Te Muna Road Vineyard, is located in Martinborough.
Gimblett Gravels Vineyard
Within Hawke's Bay there are pockets of austere, gravelly soil perfectly suited to Bordeaux varieties. Gimblett Gravels, an 850-hectare region, is the warmest vineyard area in the country. Average summer temperatures are only a degree or two cooler than Napa's Oakville district. The warmth is enhanced by rock beds over 90 feet deep which act as incubators at night, releasing heat absorbed from the sun during the day. The effect is a terroir in which Cabernet, and particularly Merlot, consistently achieve a level of ripeness seldom attainable elsewhere in New Zealand.
In the Gimblett Gravels region, Craggy Range has carved out the 100-hectare Gimblett Gravels Vineyard for red and white Bordeaux varieties and Syrah. The narrow-row vine architecture is planted to a very intensive density of between 1,400 and 2,100 vines per acre, with several plots trained low to the ground to benefit completely from the thermal conductivity and reflectiveness of the soils. Extensive deep soil preparations encourage deeply rooted vines to reach veins of sand, silt and clay immersed far into the gravel, and drip irrigation is applied only when required. Thirty-six varietal plots have been matched to the variations in depth and texture of the gravelly soils of the meandering old stream beds of the Ngaruroro River.
Kidnappers Vineyard is located at Cape Kidnappers on the Hawkes Bay coastline, where spring and autumn are warm and sunny and the summer is tempered by the cooling sea breeze. The shallow, warm clay loam soils and careful selection of clones in this environment allow the development of very pure, cool flavors in the Chardonnay grown there.
Te Muna Road Vineyard
The Te Muna Road Vineyard is located roughly five miles from the center of the town of Martinborough, and is divided into two terraces. The upper terrace lies entirely on the old, stony, decomposing Martinborough terrace soils that have become famous for Pinot Noir. As might be expected, this terrace is planted primarily to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on proven rootstocks and, where possible, in new clones from Burgundy. The lower terrace is geologically distinct, dominated by greywacke stones interspersed with a little limestone, and is planted almost entirely to Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyard architecture is a very intensive, narrow-row structure with between 1,400 and 2,100 vines per acre.