Churton Spring Equinox Newsletter

Petit Manseng LabelMany of our followers will know that Sam as been working on NZ’s first plantings of Petit Manseng. We think this is a truly exciting grape variety. It is fun to grow and has plenty of challenges in the vineyard and winery…But it has huge potential for quality and individuality.

Now we are pleased to announce the inaugural release of the long awaited Churton Petit Manseng 2012.

This is NewZealand’s first commercial release of this variety and the first to be exported. As only 700 (500ml) bottles are available it will be sold on an allocation basis only. This is a glorious wine with great intensity, a complex palate and wonderful precise acidity giving excellent direction and tension.

You can find the full information sheet on this exciting new wine here



Churton Biodiversity Lambs in AbyssIN THE VINEYARD

Spring has Sprung! Over the past month or so we have been working hard in the vineyard. The compost pile has been built, pruning is now complete and it won’t be long before bud burst. We have had 100 or so ewes each with twin lambs grazing in the Abyss and Topside blocks and our Red Devon cattle are grazing in the Shoulder block. Meanwhile, we have made some changes to our soil management . Up until recently the majority of vineyard has been under permanent sward (inter-row) plantings. With two difficult seasons in a row this has taken its toll on vine vigour. This season we have decided to cultivate every second row to reduce competition and give more strength back to the vines. This inter-row cultivation also helps incorporate organic matter into the soil and gives a nutrient burst just as the vines are about to start growing for the season. In addition, the cultivation helps force the surface roots of the vines to deeper depths, allowing them to access a better water supply and more micro-nutrients. Kevin our tractor driver has been doing this work. He has a big satisfied grin on his face as he sees the quality and texture of the soil that is being cultivated.



We are pleased to announce that Churton is now available in China through two new distributors: Vats Liquor Chain Stores based in Beijing and Abbies Wine in Shanghai.

This means you can now find Churton wines in ten countries around the world.

New distributors in existing markets include:

Singapore – Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Victoria, Australia – Footprint Wines

For more details of our agents & distributors worldwide please go to



“Churton’s terroir has specific yeast populations: Biodynamics at Churton leads to greater yeast diversity. Yes!!!

Churton’s biodynamic vineyard management has resulted in an increased diversity and increased numbers of yeasts species in the vineyard and winery.

Over the past few years we have been working with a research group at Auckland University and have just received the report of their initial findings. It makes really exciting reading. The research is based on looking at the microbial ecology of different vineyards throughout New Zealand. It focuses on the populations of wild yeasts (both Sachharomyces and non Sacchoromyces yeasts) found in the vineyards and then in the resulting indigenous ferments from the grapes of those vineyards. At Churton we looked at two of our Sauvignon Blanc blocks: Loin and Saddle. What the research group have found is that we have higher numbers of species of yeasts than both conventional and organic vineyards. What’s more we have a number of species that are only found in our vineyard!

This is great news and really reinforces our understanding of terroir. Not only is Churton’s terroir due to the geographic particulars of our site, but also the site expression is uniquely influenced by our unique microbiology. As biodynamic practitioners we’ve always believed that we are creating healthy microbiology and now we have evidence. This shows that biodynamics really does improve the expression of terroir.



?Ontario, Canada: Sam is just about to head off to Canada for a market visit that will include seminars for LCBO product consultants in Ottawa and Mississauga. Our Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are now both available through LCBO stores.

?Tanners Wines, UK: Awarded MidlandsWineMerchant of the year at the International Wine Challenge in London. Congratulations from all of us at Churton!!

?Food and Wine Matching: Jean Shears was the clear winner of the recent Tanners Wines/Churton Food and Wine Matching Competition. For her delicious recipe of Pan Fried Scallops wrapped in Pancetta with pea/mint puree matched with the Churton Viognier 2011 go to the blog page on our website.


Churton_winery-4231IN THE WINERY

Everything is quiet in the winery. All the 2013 wines are safely tucked away in barrels and tanks. and we won’t be doing much with them until late Spring/early Summer. We had a lot of fun in July hand bottling the 2012 Petit Manseng which has now been labelled and is ready for release. Our next job is bottling the lovely 2012 Churton Pinot Noir: a tightly poised wine that has softness and aromatics, great savoury structure and length.





We have had a wonderful team of willing casual workers over the winter including, Lucie from France, Felipe from Chile, Carlos from Spain & Anna from Blenheim, as well as our loyal team of Chris, Kevin and Kelly. Overseeing the vineyard operations (in Ben’s absence) and doing a great job, is Logie MacKenzie. Thanks team!!



Ben Weaver, (Sam and Mandy’s oldest son)who has been working with the vineyard crew and in the winery over Vintage for the last 2 years, has just taken off to the USA to work Vintage at Bonny Doon in California . Keep an eye on our website for a “Letter from Bonny Doon”…

Jack Weaver (Ben’s younger brother) has followed his heart to Buenos Aires and his plan is to make the move to Australia in 2014 to commence his studies in Oenology at the University of Adelaide.


With warm regards as our days get longer; Sam, Mandy, Julie and the Churton team


Churton Spring Equinox Newsletter 2013




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