World Map New Zealand

World Map New Zealand

Cloudy Bay, Dog Point and Greywacke

Cloudy Bay, together with Dog Point and Greywacke, have been extremely influential in establishing New Zealand’s local and international reputation for producing fine wines from several varieties, but especially Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. From the mid-1980s, members of the Healy, Judd and Sutherland families held responsible positions at Cloudy Bay. After the French firm Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey bought Cloudy Bay in 2003, members of these three families established their own enterprises. The Sutherland and Healy families built a winery to complement the Sutherland vineyards, and in 2008 Kevin Judd launched the label that he had first registered in 1993: Greywacke. Kevin’s last year as CEO of Cloudy Bay was 2008. By 2010 his name was back in the Annual Report of New Zealand Winegrowers, this time as proprietor of Greywacke. The trio’s seamless transition was smoothed by their deep knowledge of growing fully flavoured grapes in the Marlborough environment and capturing the nuances of their qualities in the wines they produced.

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Almost all the sites from which Judd sources the grapes for his new label – which ‘is primarily based on two varieties, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir’- are part of the portfolio of vineyards owned by the Sutherland family. However, Greywacke’s Sauvignon Blanc wines are nothing like the standard Marlborough model. Judd is striving for fuller flavours, greater mouth weight, and a more integrated wine. Moreover, with his ‘wild Sauvignon, as with his more conventionally fermented wines, the strong asparagus and capsicum flavours characteristic of many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are undetectable.

Kevin Judd is a strong believer in fermenting a proportion of the grapes he crushes with indigenous yeasts from the locality where the grapes are growing. These ‘wild ferments give distinctive flavour, mouth weight and aromas to the resulting wine. He still inoculates some ferments with commercial yeasts. These two approaches give him flexibility in blending the final wines. By fermenting in small and medium-sized tanks and in barrels he is able to vary the proportions of the rustic flavours from the wild ferments of Sauvignon Blanc or even Pinot Noir with the less distinctive wines from the more conventional ferments.

Fortunately, Judd is comfortable with harvesting his grapes at night and by machine, whereas Ivan Sutherland and James Healy of Dog Point favour hand-picking in the daytime. By harvesting at night, Judd is able to mesh with Dog Point’s vineyard and winery scheduling. During vintage these practices see the three key figures of Dog Point and Greywacke on quite different working and sleeping schedules. Kevin is able to organise the mechanical harvesters, receive the grapes, and see to their pressing and allocation to barrels or stainless-steel tanks in the deep of the night. The bunches of Pinot Noir are already cool when they begin their cold soak in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks immediately after they reach the winery.

Dog Point winery had a long gestation. When, in 2003, David Hohnen sold Cloudy Bay to LVMH neither James Healy nor Ivan Sutherland was surprised. They had been working together for more than eighteen years, James as production manager and a winemaker while Ivan was running Cloudy Bay’s viticulture as well as being a director of the company. Moreover, their two families had been closely associated with the Cloudy Bay enterprise. Wendy Healy worked in administration there, as did Margaret

Hand-sorting Pinot grapes at Dog Point. On the job are the four partners in the business, the accountant, the gardener, and Ivan Sutherland’s sister.

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