Nautilus was founded by firth generation vigneron Robert Hill Smith (whose great-great grandfather founded Australia's Yalumba winery) in 1985, in Marlborough at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. Their compelling logo is the striking Nautilus shell which they chose to represent their expressive, textural precisely crafted wines because of its natural beauty and mathematical perfection - it is one of the finest natural examples of a logarithmic spiral. They have five vineyard sites spread through some of the best terroirs in Marlborough:
The 5.5 hectare Clay Hill Vineyard in the eastern Omaka Valley is planted with Pinot Noir on clay soils.
Kaituna Vineyard on the north bank of the Wairau River has 20 hectares of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc on stony alluvial soils with a sub-layer of clay.
The 12.2 hectare Korohi Vineyard, off the Rapaura Road, has Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir on stony silt loams.
Lanark Lane Vineyard has 12 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc on stony alluvial soils in the Wairau Valley.
The 25 hectare Opawa Vineyard on Rapaura Road is primarily planted with Sauvignon Blanc, but also a little Pinot Noir on stony alluvial soils.
The 7 hectare Renwick Vineyard in the middle of the Wairau Valley has Pinot Noir and Chardonnay along with small parcels of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Grüner Veltliner and Albariño planted on its stony alluvium soils.
Nautilus are highly unusual in that they have two state-of-the-art wineries situated side by side, which allow precise control of the winemaking process. The first was built in 2000 and was rather radical at the time because it is solely dedicated to that capricious of all grape varieties, Pinot Noir. They believe this winery to be the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Their sister winery was constructed in 2006 for the production of their white wines. Nautilus have conducted significant research into clones and their Pinot Noir is considered a Marlborough benchmark. The expression of the different vineyard plots are expertly crafted by winemaker Clive Jones into a portfolio of stunning wines with layers of complexity.