Story Of The Vineyard
The establishment of Manawatu's first vineyard is a story of enterprise and courage. Manawatu is not known as a grape growing region so when Bronwyn and Nick decided to plant a vineyard there was a lot of scepticism about the venture. Many people believed that the vineyard would not survive because of the climate of the region. Pohangina Valley Estate takes its name from the surrounding geographical area which was originally clothed in dense forest. European settlers of the late 19th century quickly cleared the forest, exposing river terraces and rolling foothills. There are still beautiful patches of native forest in this picturesque district. The Totara Reserve, a favourite picnic spot, contains fine specimens of the tree species that once dominated this landscape.
The vineyard is located in the Pohangina Valley about 23 kms from Palmerston North. It is situated on a stony river terrace with the Ruahine Range as a backdrop. Development of the vineyard began in 2000 with the preparation of 4 hectares of farm land. The ground was so stony that a rock spiker had to be used in order to put the posts in. Bronwyn and Nick developed the vineyard with the help of family and friends. 16,000 grape vines and 350 olive trees were planted by hand. Hazelnut and Oak trees that had been inoculated with the black perigord truffle were also planted.
Bronwyn and Nick were joined in the venture by Fiona McMorran, Bronwyn's sister. Following the planting, the vines became subject to sabotage from the many hares and black rabbits on the property. Each plant had to be individually boxed until it grew to the fruiting wire. Finally after 4 years of careful tending the first harvest was picked in 2004, just 2 months after the region's most devastating flood. From there the family have never looked back. The grapes have flourished in the cool climate of the region and over the years increasing yields have allowed the family to develop a range of wines for sale. A purpose built tasting room now provides a venue for visitors to the vineyard to sample the wines and talk with the owners directly.
The wine is made in Martinborough by Chris Buring. Chris is renowned for making quality wines with unique characters. He has been associated with the following vineyards: Paul Masoon in the USA, Lindemans in Australia, Blue Rock, Murdoch James, and Te Kairanga in New Zealand. He established his own winery in 2002 with his wife Polly.