Andrew & Cynthia Hendry
Huapai, West Auckland
Coopers Creek has produced many innovative wines from NZ’s top wine-growing regions but their Hawkes Bay chardonnay remains a much-loved favourite from all they craft.
Wine lovers and founders of Coopers Creek, Andrew and Cynthia Hendry, have been immersed in the food, hospitality and wine trade for the last 40 years. Andrew is the winery’s Managing Director, handling day-to-day operational management and international trades.
Coopers Creek has earned a reputation for being adventurous and innovative wine producers – introducing and pioneering promising new grape varieties that are ideal for cool climate regions including albariño, ameis, grüner veltliner and marsanne.
The winery satisfies a growing demand for these new varieties under its SV (Select Vineyards) range, in addition to its longstanding pedigree with riesling, pinot noir, syrah and Bordeaux reds. But chardonnay is the wine Coopers Creek is best known for and their Hawkes Bay vineyard, in the Havelock North hills, is particularly special to Andrew and Cynthia.
“This vineyard is one of the oldest chardonnay vineyards in the country.” He credits the elevated north facing aspect and free draining soils, with high Taupo pumice content and limestone outcrops, as being the key factors that makes the vineyard so special.
“It was planted entirely with different clones of chardonnay in the mid-Eighties and produces our American oak influenced Select Vineyards ‘Limeworks’ Chardonnay and our French oak super premium Swamp Reserve Chardonnay.” Since 1989 both labels have been regular and consistent gold medal winners.
When the Hendrys established the winery in 1980, the popular wine was müller thurgau, normally a medium-sweet style. “There was a lot of cardboard cask wine made with hybrid grapes. We started producing wines in a drier style that were suited to be enjoyed with food.”
Andrew observes that the last few decades have seen New Zealanders’ wine tastes change and they have embraced an increasing range of varieties, styles and regions, which has led to New Zealand being accepted on the world wine scene as a top quality producer.
The challenges of 2020 have brought many ups and downs for the industry but as Andrew says, the growing season determines the quality of the wine produced. “I have been lucky to experience many very fine vintages, happily 2020 being the latest.” With a great vintage to look forward to and the weather warming up, Andrew shares his current wine choice.
“I’m enjoying a Select Vineyards ‘Bell-Ringer’ Albariño with a Peruvian ceviche made with trevally or kingfish, lime juice, honey, coconut milk, red onion, garlic, coriander and a hot yellow pepper paste.” Sounds delicious Andrew, we’ll toast to that!