Esses Wine Company
280 Postmans Road, RD1
021 256 4383
Nestled next to the foothills of the Kaikōura ranges with stunning views of Mt Fyffe and beyond, Esses Wine Company’s vineyard might just sit in one of the most stunning spots grapes can grow. The winery is one of a handful of New Zealand grower-producers specialising solely in sparkling wine created with méthode traditionelle, the same method used to make champagne.
Originally from Australia, growers and winemakers Mel and Aaron Skinner jumped at the chance to purchase their mountainside vineyard in 2007. The twenty-year-old chardonnay and pinot noir vines were perfect for creating the sparkling wines they love. To top it off, the microclimate, which experiences cooler temperatures than vineyards in Waipara or further north in Marlborough, further affirmed it was an ideal spot for perfecting their art.
Mel and Aaron believe in minimalist winemaking, and their vineyard is sustainably certified. They are also members of Organic Winegrowers New Zealand, though their wines are yet to be certified. It’s all about soil and vine management, fine tuning the natural sugar and acid levels, as well as patience when it comes to creating the perfect sparkling – it takes a minimum of five years to produce their wines. Flavours of different vintages change slightly depending on the weather during the season the grapes are growing, yet all of the wines are made with the same method and the same grapes.
Esses wines are available through online sales and specific retail outlets in bigger centres across the motu. While a few restaurants and high end lodges in Kaikōura do serve these unique wines, the best way to try and buy them is to make an appointment to visit their vineyard and tasting room. Esses Wine Company can host up to 40 people for tastings at one time, but bookings are necessary, especially during the summer months. That being said, Mel and Aaron always try their best to accommodate anyone wanting to pop in to try their wines, so get in touch with them when in town.
Words by Petra Nyman & Photography by Ashleigh Vermaak
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280 Postmans Road, RD1
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