Neudorf is New Zealand's greatest wine producer, according to Tom Stevenson's Wine Report 2009 and was named by New Zealand critic Raymond Chan as his Winery of the Year for 2012.Judy and Tim Finn planted Neudorf Vineyards in Upper Moutere Nelson in 1978, before the fine wine industry was established in New Zealand. Fresh from the ?back to the land? movement of the late sixties, they had a vision to produce beautiful wine. These days the pair are joined by winemaker Todd Stevens and viticulturist Richard Flatman and a team who believe their primary task is to grow grapes which express this special site, to take the essence of that fruit and preserve it as wine. On the way they may fine-tune the balance and complexity in a number of ways but the aim is always to allow the site to speak.Vineyard management is driven by the winemaker?s desire for ripe flavors with balanced acidity and concentrated fruit. Their vines spill down a gentle north-facing slope overlooking Moutere Valley, at the top of New Zealand?s South Island. Shallow sandy loam overlays a draining clay subsoil based on the weathered gravels of an ancient river system. A combination of high plant density (up to 5000 vines/hectare) and low production (2-4lbs per vine for Pinot Noir) helps achieve the quality of fruit to create long-lived, intense but elegant wines. The intensive management regime includes manual shoot thinning, leaf removal, bunch thinning and of course hand harvesting. Canopies are kept open to allow the sun and wind to penetrate, thereby reducing disease. Varieties grown include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Great wines have a basis of fruit concentration, length and sense of place ? characters which can be formed only in the vineyard. The team at Neudorf believe their primary task is to grow grapes which express the site, to take the essence of that fruit and then preserve it as wine. On the way they may fine tune the balance and complexity in a number of ways but the aim is always to allow the site to speak. In the winery they concentrate on texture, balance and for certain wines, complexity. Finesse is always a priority. Neudorf has won a plethora of awards and is considered one of New Zealand's leading wine producers; they are also a foundation member of the New Zealand Sustainable Viticulture group.Raymond Chan comments ? ?Neudorf Vineyards already has the reputation as one of the finest producers in New Zealand and I can only see there will be wholehearted agreement from their winemaking peers and from the wine consumer for this award. Although Neudorf Vineyards is a small producer with 33 ha of vineyards and an annual harvest of 150 tonnes making around only 13,000 cases, everything they release is of the highest quality. Neudorf has the Midas touch with every variety they handle, the wines all being outstanding examples of their kind. The ?Nelson' wines which are made from fruit not exclusively from the Moutere Hills stand tall with the ?Reserve' and super-premium wines of any other winery. The ?Moutere' wines, made from fruit from the original home blocks and managed sites very nearby are in a league of their own, and are shining examples of how New Zealand can compete with the world's very best.?
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