The Rugged Beauty of New Zealand’s Yealand Winery

Written by | Travel

In our Travel Issue, Edwin encourages us to check out New Zealand’s often overlooked South Island. Here, he goes into depth on what you’ll see…

On my flight from Auckland to Blenheim, New Zealand, I sat next to a nice gentleman named Leigh who does sales for the US market for Yealand Winery. “It’s one of the most beautiful wineries in the world. The view is stunning,” he tells me. “Just go there and tell them Leigh sent you.”

I’m not good at saying no, so one afternoon, I drove to their Seaview Vineyard located in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough, at the northeastern tip of New Zealand’s South Island for a few minutes.

What was supposed to be a 30-minute visit turned into a four-hour photo trip. Leigh wasn’t lying when he said it’s one of the most beautiful vineyards in the world. The view was spectacular. Located in some of Marlborough’s harshest conditions; strong coastal winds, low rainfall, high sunshine and cool nights, our low yielding vines produce small berries, with thick skins and an intense varietal character.

For years, these rolling Awatere Valley foothills were regarded as unsuitable for grape growing. Falling in love with the land, Peter Yealands thought differently. Often working by himself late into the night, Pete led the re-contouring of the land. By filling ravines, smoothing gullies, terracing hills and planting a diverse range of grapes using GPS alignment, he transformed rugged pastoral land into a sustainable vineyard area.

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The rolling terrain produces a vast array of flavors; vines and fruit exposed to the strong coastal winds produce smaller more intense berries, whilst the vines in the hollows show more lush growth and fruit. These parcels are harvested and fermented individually allowing our winemaking team to select only the very best parcels for our Yealands Estate wines.

The Seaview Vineyard is planted with a wide range of varieties which include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and three more varieties unusual to the region: Viognier, Grüner Veltliner (originating from Austria) and Tempranillo (Spain).

Next time you’re in New Zealand, please drop by Yealands Winery and tell them “Edwin sent you.”

Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each Tuesday and Thursday.

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Last modified: August 16, 2019