Subregion: Gimblett Gravels
Region: Hawke's Bay
Grows: Syrah - Blank Canvas 'Element' Syrah
Growers: Dominic and Rachelle Smith
Dominic and Rachelle own and operate Element - the smallest vineyard in the esteemed Gimblett Gravels winegrowing region in Hawkes Bay, with a total of 2.4 ha planted. Having a background in landscaping, transport and hospitality and a love of wine, Rachelle and Dom made the move from Auckland to sunny Hawke's Bay with their two young daughters Zoë and Zaymia in 2012. They live on the Element Vineyard, producing some of their own wine from the vines and growing for Blank Canvas since 2017.
Both Element Vineyard and Blank Canvas are members of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association.
Soils and Climate: The Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District is renown for its pure gravel bed soils which have lenses of sand, silt and clay at various depths. These free-draining alluvial gravels provide the ideal medium for capturing the warmth of the day-time sun and are perfect for ripening Syrah in a cool-climate style.
Vineyard: The 2.4 ha vineyard is comprised mainly of Syrah with a majority planted to the Chave clone and the remainder to mass selection and Stonecroft clone. Rachelle and Dom also grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Viognier for their own label, Element.
Dom and Rachelle's philosophy embraces their belief that when they take care of the terroir elements, the vital elements of their fruit will be in balance and total harmony. They therefore make sure that no herbicide, systemic or conventional controls are used. Winegrowing for the Smith family is the perfect balance of art and science, a pinch of luck and a whole lot of passion.