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Esk Valley

Esk Valley is located at Bay View, north of the picturesque Hawke's Bay region on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. Its story began in 1933 when it was established by Englishman Robert Bird, who called his property Glenvale. He constructed the original winery and cellars. This was a time when fortified Port and Sherry style wines ruled the market, and Bird's wines became popular - at its peak Glenvale was the fifth largest winery in New Zealand. In 1986 Sir George Fistonich, the owner of Villa Maria, acquired Glenvale from the Bird family. He renamed the estate Esk Valley and began to focus on high quality wines, pioneering the region with the introduction of new grape varieties and new wine styles. The original historic cellars remain at Bay View with the addition of a new winery within the famous Gimblett Gravels area of Hawke's Bay. The grapes are sourced from two locations. Hawke's Bay, where the warm climate and gravel based soils are perfect for the cultivation of red grapes for the production of high quality red wines and fuller whites. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Verdelho are grown here. In Marlborough at the northern tip of the South Island, where the cooler climate produces that unique Marlborough style of Sauvignon Blanc. This variety is grown along with Riesling and Pinot Noir. In 1988 a scheme was undertaken to re-establish an old abandoned terraced vineyard. This was planted in 1989 and the wine from these vines make one of New Zealand's most sought after wines – the fabulous The Terraces. Esk Valley's wine maker Gordon Russell joined them in 1993, he tries to make wine as natural as possible, using native yeasts for fermentation, long term lees ageing, and the traditional method of hand plunging the red wines in large concrete fermenters to extract the colour and tannin as gently as possible. The multi award-winning wines are passionately handcrafted, and are regarded as among New Zealand's finest; premium reds and elegant whites that reflect the character of their individual sites.