Upton Downs Vineyard
Subregion: Upper Awatere
Valley: Awatere Valley
Grows: Pinot Noir
Wine: Blank Canvas 'Upton Downs' Pinot Noir
Growers: Turnbull Family
The Turnbull Family established their vineyard in the Awatere Valley from what was an apricot orchard in the early 2000s. They work in partnership with our long-term colleague and friend Glenn Thomas, who makes the wine for their Tupari label. We were lucky enough to obtain a select parcel of Clone 777 Pinot Noir from their elevated river terrace block in 2016 and 2017 for Blank Canvas. Situated on Upton Downs Road, we've called this the 'Upton Downs' Pinot Noir.
Soils and Climate: The soils in the Awatere Valley are a complex matrix of river silts, clays, loams and gravels. The Upper Awatere subregion where this vineyard is situated is on a river terrace above the braided Awatere River and thus is made up of low-vigour clays and loam soils. The micro-climate is generally cooler than the neighbouring Wairau Valley so we expect more lifted, fragrant and lighter Pinot Noir characters.
Vineyard: The vineyard was planted in 2003, and the small parcel we hand-harvested is comprised of 100% Clone 777. Cane pruned and VSP trained, the vineyard is meticulously managed and suffers little disease pressure due to the drier, cool climate.
The Turnbull's live to get the best out of their land, for the present as well as future generations. They live and work sustainably, with the vineyard also boasting a 0% chemical residue rating. They firmly believe in 'kaitiakitanga' - a Maori word meaning guardianship - over the land.