Awatere Valley, Marlborough
Pioneers of the region, Vavasour have been crafting exceptional wines in the Awatere Valley since 1986.
The founding winery of Marlborough’s Awatere Valley, Vavasour is known for producing elegant, complex wines that have become a benchmark for the region. The first vines were planted in 1986, yielding an award-winning Chardonnay in their very first vintage and setting the standard for the varieties that followed.
Stu Marfell has been Chief Winemaker since 2007, but his association with the vineyard goes way back to 1995, when he’d help to plant vines on school breaks. He’s had a front row seat for the winery’s evolution, watching the wines grow in complexity with every year the vines age.
‘It’s so cool, seeing the wines the vines were producing when they were young and fresh, compared to now,’ says Stu. ‘They’re much more layered, complex and interesting.’ Being stonier, drier, and cooler than the neighbouring Wairau Valley, the land in the Awatere is known for producing quality over quantity, meaning harvests can be low but the resulting wines are invariably more complex, textural and intense. Stu’s pared-back winemaking style reflects this, his goal being to capture the fruit’s unique regional characteristics in each wine.
‘It sounds like a cliché,’ says Stu, ‘but it’s about letting the vineyard talk. As the vines age, that quality comes through naturally, so it’s a case of trying to do less in some ways.’
Although their wines have been sustainably produced for many years, a big focus for Stu and his team is developing that sustainability programme further, with initiatives centring around solar power, reducing water usage, and planting native trees to promote biodiversity. ‘Because we’ve been on the land for a long time, we’ve spent a lot of time planting and enhancing the environment out there,’ says Stu. ‘A lot of the native plants were removed for sheep farming, but now there are pockets coming back and we’re getting that bird life re-emerging. It’s a lovely place to be.’
Find the Vavasour range in our alcohol section.
Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc
The Awatere Valley’s stony soil and unforgiving climate conspire to create ripe stone fruit flavours and a distinct oyster shell minerality. $18.99/bottle
Vavasour Pinot Gris
Coastal winds bring a richly structured palate featuring layers of crisp fruit, backed by hints of ginger and the long mineral finish typical of the Awatere Valley. $19.99/bottle
Complex and elegant, this Chardonnay delivers lovely citrus, nectarine and apricot notes balanced by toasty French oak. The palate is rich and silky with stony, lingering minerality. $24.99/bottle
Vavasour Pinot Noir
A luscious and aromatic wine, this Pinot Noir demonstrates the beauty of cool-climate vineyards. Ruby red, with an intriguing bouquet of dark cherry and spice. $27.99/bottle
Vavasour Felix’s Pinot Noir
Made from small parcels from a Single Vineyard in the Awatere Valley. These established vines lead to a rich and generous palate, with savoury complexity and a silky smooth finish. $42.99/bottle