-Experience what makes us unique.-
“Creativity is a practice. It’s not an inspiration, it’s not an accident. You can’t get somewhere without risking failure. As far as winemaking, I suppose I have fallen victim to idealism, but natural winemaking celebrates the earth, and it attracts similar idealists.” – Glenn Schaeffer, Mahana Owner/Director
The Mahana vineyard is planted on the clay-bound gravels, which formed the rolling hills of Upper Moutere as ice-age glaciers melted. Mahana means “warm” in Maori and at 100 metres above sea level, its gently rolling slopes make good use of the spring sunshine while catching the cooling afternoon sea breeze in midsummer. The largest of the vineyards, Mahana is planted predominantly in Pinot Noir, with some Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay. The Mahana vineyard is complemented by a second vineyard just fifteen kilometres away on the Waimea Plains. The Burke’s Bank and Red Shed vineyards are planted with Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Gris. The stony, free-draining alluvial soils over deep, compacted gravel add ripe melon and tropical fruit notes to our Sauvignon Blanc and floral aromas and intense fruit flavours to the Riesling and Pinot Gris.
The unique four-level gravity-fed winery was designed by Oregon winery architect Larry Ferar. Built entirely of concrete, it is set into the Mahana hillside where the ‘living roof’ of native tussock and shrubs allows it to blend gently with the surrounding landscape. The winery and vineyard teams work closely together to produce fruit of the highest quality in the vineyard, then to vinify it with the minimum of intervention to achieve full, concentrated flavours.
Our winery combines the best of traditional winemaking practices with state-of-the-art modern equipment, allowing us to craft distinctive wines that reflect the place in which they were grown and the care with which they were made.
Hand-sorting and gentle de-stemming start the process and gravity moves the wine through the four floors of the 18m high winery, eliminating as much as possible the use of pumps. This reduces electricity use and more importantly, allows gentle handling of the wine to retain fruit aromas and maximise flavour concentration. Power is also saved in the temperature control of our insulated wine tanks through a precisely managed computer system and by the passive cooling of the winery itself, which is partly buried in a south-facing hillside and insulated by its ‘living roof’. As well as reducing our energy footprint this minimises temperature fluctuations in our cellars, benefitting the wine aging in barrels and bottles.
The winery is a vibrant place, the dramatic architecture complementing the magic of the creative process. This is particularly so during vintage when the air is full of the primary fruit aromas of fermenting grapes, and afterward when the barrel cellars are redolent with the complex aromas of young Pinot Noir in French oak barrels.