Nestled on the coast at the eastern tip of the North Island lies Te Awanga Estate, blessed with a maritime climate, long growing seasons and a multi award-winning winemaker at the helm.
Here’s a taste of Te Awanga.
After more than 25 years in the wine business, Rod McDonald, founder of Te Awanga Estate in Hawke’s Bay, knows a thing or two about wine. With an impressive string of local and international accolades to his name, Rod’s passion for wine, and how it is influenced by the local climate and landscape, is evident in every step of the winemaking process.
“There’s so much that goes in to making a great bottle of wine. I love that it starts out as farming, then winemaking, then design and marketing, and finally selling and sharing. Not one part of that process is boring and it makes for a hugely challenging job to get it all right,” says Rod.
Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s renowned winemaking regions and Rod explains why the area elicits such unique flavours. “Warm, long, dry summers and autumns mean fruit flavours are more intense but balanced by a natural acidity because it’s not too hot.
“We think Hawke’s Bay is perfectly suited to producing a wide range of varieties, but chardonnay and syrah are especially amazing!”
In 2020, Te Awanga is focusing on becoming 100% organic. “We are 70% there and have another 25 hectares to go before being certified fully organic. We are also developing a few wines that are virtually additive-free and we’re seeing what difference it makes to the wines.”
Reflecting on why Te Awanga wines stand out from the crowd, Rod says that it’s not one thing in particular. He credits a combination of organics, wine that is full of character and not cliché, and flavours that boast place and not just the fruit. “We give a lot of thought to how we make Te Awanga wines more interesting and hope it shows!
“The biggest lesson I have learned is to make wines that have character and personality. It means that most people like them because they’re good, but some people really click with them and love ’em!”
For Rod, picking a favourite wine is easy. “Autumn is the perfect time for pinot noir I reckon, and I enjoy it with lamb or duck. There’s a local Hawke’s Bay tapas bar that does a sensational roasted duck breast with black cherry and star anise sauce. I’d do that if I was a better cook!”
Te Awanga Pinot Gris - An attractive palate with fruit intensity, a touch of sweetness and a pleasant long finish. $17.99/bottle
Te Awanga Sauvignon Blanc - A dry and warm summer with cool nights has produced a wine with pungent aromatics and crisp acidity. $17.99/bottle
Te Awanga Pinot Noir - You’ll find tobacco, violet and earth characters on the nose, with complex licourice and cherry flavours on the palate. $19.99/bottle