Location: Renwick, Marlborough
Winemaker: Jeff Sinnott
Properties: 40 ha. distributed between vineyards located in two areas of the Marlborough district. The Waihopai valley, located 20km from the coast and at only 67 meters above sea level, is the warmer of the two valleys and produces grapes with tropical flavors. The Waihopai valley is higher (124 meters) and further from the coast (30 km) and produces fruit with greener flavors and bracing acidity.
Production: 250,000 bottles per year, most of which is exported
Ranked in Top 10 Wineries of New Zeland in 2010 by Asian Correspondent magazine. "Konrad remains one of the best value Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand" according to Gord Stimmell of the Toronto Star. Multiple winner of Blue-Gold medal at the Sydney International Wine Competition. "Impressive price/quality ratio" according to Pierre Rovani of the Wine Advocate
Having more hours of sunlight than any other region in New Zealand, coupled with its silty alluvial soil, make Marlborough the ideal place for cool climate winegrowing. It has an average sunshine of 2.500 hours per year and even on the warmest days, the nighttime temperature cools down considerably, which allows for excellent ripening and good, fresh acidity. Konrad Hengstler and his wife Sigrun planted their first wines in Marlborough in 1996, ten years after having discovered the area, which today has become New Zealand’s best known wine region. They began with 10 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc in the Waihopai Valley, a cool area known for its wines of crisp acidity. Their success led them to buy more land, this time in the nearby Wairau Valley, a slightly warmer district very near to the coast. On this property, he planted more Sauvignon blanc as well as other cool climate varietals such as Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Twenty years later, Konrad’s wines are all outstanding values. His Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which is blended from grapes from both vineyards, is one of the best price/quality wines from New Zealand, and his late-harvest dessert wines are consistently among the New world’s best “stickys.” Konrad has a degree in viticulture and supports the European concept of making wine in the vineyard, rather than in the winery. His vineyards are modern and well-tended, equipped with irrigation and frost-protection systems. Being a family business, quality control is carried out as a matter of course. Konrad’s philosophy is that “the best fertilizer is the foot of the winemaker”. In light of the dwindling supply of natural cork, most New Zealand wineries have gone on to use the ‘pilfer’ screwcap instead of cork, even in the most prestigious brands. The screwcap, which is fairly new to the European market, allows for crisper wines with no risk of bad corkage, in addition to being more environmentally appealing.
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