AWAROA WINES IS A COOPERATIVE ENTERPRISE FORMED
BY THE 6 PARTNERS OF ORAPIU GROVE FARM
"The goal of our partnership has been to operate a commercial organic enterprise while protecting and enhancing the land and its ecosystems"
The land includes natural springs feeding into the Awaroa stream and established bush including Totara and Kauri. There are large areas of Kanuka and Manuka with regenerating podacarps especially in areas that were once prevalent in gorse and tobacco plant.
The vineyards were first planted in 1998 and the name "Awaroa", means 'long river' in Te Reo Māori, and was taken from the name of the stream and valley system.
In addition to the vineyard the property also has three olive orchards, producing a small amount of organic olive oil and preserved olives.
"We have taught ourselves everything - driving bulldozers, felling pines, setting up irrigation, planting and tending the young vines and watching them grow..."
... and slowly learning how to make great wine on our land. It has been a great adventure!
We have had amazing support from our friends and other winemakers on Waiheke. We are a very small scale producer and most of our work is done by hand. Our harvest is our biggest event and is often done in 6 -7 "skim picks" where we get the best possible grapes with individual bunch selection and even discarding individual grapes.
Over the last 15 years our winemaker, Dr Steve Poletti, has developed great skill at getting the best expression of our terroir in a given year, and we have made some lovely wines, scoring as high as 95 points, and a bevy of 5 star wines.
"Using sustainable and organic practices we aim for a ripe concentrated style of red wine"
We use meticulous vineyard management to ensure low yield while leaving the fruit out in the sun as long as possible to develop the best possible flavours for our wines.
Our vineyards are on gently sloping, west-facing hills in a valley system known as Awaawaroa Valley. The base of the valley contains the stream and the soil is a rich clay extremely suitable for the varieties grown.
The climate here on Waiheke Island is similar to Bordeaux with rainfall, heat and sunshine hours suited to this style of wines. Since we are a small organic vineyard, our time and effort is focused on viticultural practises that can enhance the quality and flavours of the wines.
"The Awaroa label is reserved for organically grown grapes grown on our vineyard. All wines under the Awaroa label are made on our land in our winery"
In addition to our estate wines, we also purchase grapes from other Waiheke producers, and from Gisborne to produce second label "Waiheke Road" wines, Syrah, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay.
Our vines are hand harvested and gently crushed. After cold soaking at 4 degrees centigrade for a week the wines are fermented with introduced yeast. The fermenting wine is plunged by hand 6-8 times per day. Ferment is generally hot peaking at 33 degrees.
Once ferment is complete the wine is left on its skins for an extra couple of weeks at warm temperature. During this extended maceration time the tannins soften. A gentle press into new oak barrels for the next 12 months or so before being bottled.
After another 6 months the wine is ready for release. While the wines are good drinking when released we generally recommend extra ageing, which makes the wines more complex with softer tannins.