Hawke's Bay

Alluvial river stone in a pocket of sunshine.

There’s a lot to be said for a place that can create a world-class cool climate sparkling wine, aromatic and refreshing Pinot Gris and stunning elegant Merlot. This incredible diversity of wines and flavour speaks of the region’s diversity itself.

Ironically, one of the things that ties the Hawke’s Bay together from a viticultural perspective, also creates some of its diversity. This is the impossibly hard to pronounce Ngaruroro River.

Weaving its way persistently as a single thread from the ranges and across the high country, the river has helped etch the seemingly fort like high walls that form the boundary of our terraced Crownthorpe Vineyard. The river then makes its way downward ushering alluvial stones toward the plains.

Of course there are times when the rain likes to contribute more than usual, turning a tranquil flow into an urgent surge. One such event occurred in 1867, which altered the course of the river, leaving behind a bed of alluvial river stone and shingle soils. As you can imagine, nothing much can grow on stone. In an area known for its agriculture – this place most probably wasn’t a highlight. But in its pocket of sunshine it certainly was for the growing of New Zealand’s most acclaimed Merlot. This place is now called the Gimblett Gravels.