Over many years Wakatu Incorporation, the investment and business vehicle for a number of local Iwi, has invested heavily in the future of the Nelson region while also investing in the future of its people in a number of ways; they have provided education opportunities and have developed their own businesses to provide employment opportunities.
In recent times we have heard quite a bit about their investment in aquaculture research and development in association with The Cawthron Institute but Wakatu Incorporation also now owns all of Tohu Wines (Check out this web site - it is worth a click to visit). They have always had a big stake in this wine business but recently bought out their partners and have set about restructuring and further developing the business.
One of the first things they did after they took full ownership was employ Mike Brown, chairman of Nelson Winegrowers Association and former winemaker at Waimea Estates, as their new CEO. A couple of weeks ago I spent an afternoon with Mike, Tohu Wines winemaker, Bruce Taylor, and the man responsible for turning approx 33ha of gorse covered hillsides in the Moutere Hills into vineyards, Jonny Hiscox.
All three of these people are relatively youthful in terms of their outlook on life and want to create something for future generations. They are prepared to try some slightly different things (don’t tell Jonny it can’t be done!) and I am sure we will see Mike’s hand in new aromatic varieties planned for the future.
Jonny loves growing things and his passion for the land goes well beyond planting grape vines, he has made sure the irrigation pond also support wildlife and has planted around 10,000 native trees, shrubs, flaxes and grasses in various areas around the vineyard that will provide material for traditional Maori cultural uses.
Of the 60ha of scrub covered land available only 33ha was able to be planted in vines and the plan for the balance is to get rid of gorse and plant more indigenous trees and plants and develop some low maintenance amenity areas.
Murray Moffatt is a vital team member in the vineyard and in his very reserved manner said the place has ‘a really nice feel’. If you meet Murray you will know that this simple statement really means Wakatu Incorporation and Tohu Wines are creating something very special in the Moutere Hills.
The delightful vineyard is only part of developing a great wine brand of the future, making good wine is also pretty important and the attention to detail going into this vineyard development will ensure Tohu Wines can expand the range of fine wines they currently produce, predominantly from fruit grown on their Awatere Valley vineyards in Marlborough. Watch this space.
Finally if you haven’t got your ticket yet to the annual regional tasting at The Boathouse on Tuesday next week contact Gisela at Nelson Wineart. Phone 021-1010-366
I have been drinking
Tohu 2010 Sauvignon Blanc - $19.90
This wine recently picked up a gold medal and the trophy for best sauvignon blanc in show at the Bragato Wine Awards. Rather than being a big punchy wine this has elegantly restrained aromas but with beautifully clean apple, gooseberry and lemongrass flavours. Plenty of balanced, ripe acidity and a streak of minerality in the finish make this a perfect match with seafood. A classy wine at a great price.
Ti Point 2010 Rosé – RRP $21.90
Made from merlot grapes grown on the Matakana Coast this is a delightful reminder summer is only a few rainy days away. Pretty in the glass, pretty floral aromas and pretty creamy summer fruit flavours with a twist of lime in the finish adds up to something a lot more than a pretty wine. This is a serious wine to enjoy on a warm, sunny afternoon.