Picture the scene. It’s the early 1990s. Ireland has made it to the World Cup football finals, the Soviet Union has collapsed and it seems like Britpop might take over the world. A young Auckland couple have a dream. Not a dream to live in the Big City and make big bucks. No, they want a life full of hope, wine and passion.
Okay, less of the movie trailer introduction…
Andrew Greenhough (pronounced ‘green-hoff’) and Jenny Wheeler started their new life when they bought a four-hectare plot in Nelson, aptly named ‘Hope’.
Nelson is located at the very top tip of South Island and lies west of Marlborough. With the Tasman Sea to the east, the region gets a generous amount of rainfall, along with a gentle breeze rolling in off the sea. Vineyards tend to be clustered around this area to reap the rewards of the coastal opportunities. The proximity of the vineyards to the sea helps the vines retain natural acidity in the grapes, providing juicy and zesty characteristics to the wines.
In addition, vines here have the benefit of the clay soils of the Moutere Hills and the alluvial flinty terroir of the Waimea Plains. These soils tend to have more gravel, which gives the vines better drainage. This in turn results in more mineral-rich soil and wines.
The Greenhough way
Their first few years of owning the winery required tough work. This included culling vines that had been planted by the previous wine hobbyist owner, such as Müller-Thurgau and a rather tart Cabernet Sauvignon. In their place, they planted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, which the Nelson region is most known for.
By the mid/late-1990s, the international New Zealand wine obsession was well and truly taking over. Jenny and Andrew bought another plot right next door as demand for their wines grew. At this stage, New Zealand was exporting two-thirds of its wine, which was huge for a ‘New World’ country. It was toward the end of their first decade that recognition of the Greenhough Wines started building.
By 2008, Hope Vineyard was well developed, having produced numerous luscious and invigorating vintages. The Greenhough team decided to begin investing in organic and sustainable farming. Their goal was “to protect the land that has tested, inspired, and rewarded us. When nature thrives, so do we.” The winery received BioGro NZ Organic Certification and hasn’t looked back since. All their wines are certified vegan and certified organic.
The Greenhough Sauvignon Blanc ‘River Garden’ sings with fresh passionfruit and tropical fruits, aromatic nettly notes and a strong green herbaceous base that will have you begging for more. If you love a Marlborough Sauvignon, a Nelson Sauvignon Blanc is ever so slightly more reserved but just as captivating.
Greenhough’s ‘Stone’s Throw’ Pinot Noir has an immense elegance to it that showcases the bright red fruits, while the delicate one-year-long oaking compliments the earthy umami flavour profile with a subtle spice.
Greenhough’s single vineyard Pinot Noir effortlessly embodies everything that people love about New Zealand Pinot Noirs: the vibrant fruit-forward style and characteristic earthiness. The fruit is hand-picked and chilled overnight to ensure that crisp freshness is there. Then it is loaded into French barrels and left to perfect for over 10 months. The light filtering afterwards adds to the fullness and richness of the lightly spiced palate. Dark fruits dominate this wine. Think dark cherries and plum.
Hope and glory
But the standout wine has to be Greenhough’s prized ‘Hope Vineyard’ Sauvignon Blanc. It’s in this wine that you can taste Andrew and Jenny’s dream really come alive. One-third of the grapes are harvested and macerated for 36 hours, while the rest of the grapes are carefully pressed straight after picking. Both sets of grapes are then transferred into French oak barrels, where they are left for eight months to create a silky-textured, sophisticated Sauvignon Blanc. As soon as you taste this wine, you can feel the complexity and thought that has gone into this cracker of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
That brings us to the present day. Andrew and Jenny are still creating forward-thinking and environmentally aware wines with the help of their winemaker Cam. They hope to continue what they do best and make great wines well into the future.