Mt. Beautiful


Wine etc. Don't Be Afraid of Picking Wine for Holiday Parties

Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr


Capital Gazette, Wine, Etc ... Patrick Darr and Tom Marquardt


October 18, 2017


Please to be featured in this article!


"There was a time when Halloween was for kids. Now it's also for adults who want to be kids. With many kids thankfully long gone from the nest and thus unable to witness the debauchery, adults don absurd costumes and party. When else can fear and death be so celebrated?


We've been to our share of Halloween parties and frankly they scare us. All these otherwise normal people dressed in expensive goblin garb or outfitted with bed sheets and face paint is enough to make us duck under the covers. But, after a few drinks, even the guy with the bloody axe seems to be hilarious.


If you are attending one of these feral soirees, why not complete the package with a scary wine? ...


We recently tasted two current wines from Mt. Beautiful Winery from the North Canterbury region on the South Island of New Zealand. The Mt. Beautiful Rose 2016 ($15) is made from 100 percent pinot noir grapes and exhibits a luscious mouth filling cherry, strawberry, and watermelon nose and flavors.


We also enjoyed the Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir 2015 ($26) that displayed bright cherry and cranberry elements with just a hint of elegant oak. A great package! Both of these wines are worthy of consideration."


Mt. Beautiful Sauv Blanc at Robert Irvine's Public House

Drink This of Vegas Seven, Bob Barnes

A Few Sips From the Beverage Program at Robert Irvine’s Public House

Last May, celebrity chef Robert Irvine drew attention to his announcement of plans for a dining concept at the Tropicana when he rappelled 22 stories down the side of the resort. Now, a year later, the Food Network TV star and host of the syndicated talk show The Robert Irvine Show opens his first Las Vegas restaurant, Robert Irvine’s Public House, on July 27.

The 275-seat space, situated on the northern side of Tropicana’s casino floor, offers a varied beverage program. As the eatery’s motto is “There is no greater happiness than a full pint and a full plate,” it should come as no surprise that beer is a star, with 32 taps and 30 cans and bottles offered. The selection includes brews that are not the usual suspects on the Strip, such as Prairie BOMB Imperial Stout, Evil Twin Old Fashioned Lemonade IPA, Unibroue La Fin du Monde and Mikkeller Beer Geek Dessert. Local beers are not left out, with the likes of Able Baker Brewing IPA and Chris Kael Impale’d Ale, as well as Tenaya Creek 702 Pale Ale, Hauling Oats Oatmeal Stout and Bonanza Brown Ale.

More than a dozen signature cocktails are available, and as Patrón is Irvine’s spirit of choice, you’ll likely be enjoying El Karma—Patrón Reposado, Mixwell Mojave Grapefruit Soda, lime wedges, grapefruit peel and chili aleppo salt. The restaurant also has a namesake cocktail, the P.H.T. (Public House Tonic), a concoction with Plymouth Gin, Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic, a cucumber strip, lemon and lime wheels and fresh mint. Irvine emphasizes that all of the libations are made with fresh fruit and vegetables. Several cocktails use beet or carrot vodka from Boardroom Spirits—“a line of vodkas, gin, Scotch and bourbon—and we’ll be using all of them,” he says. Irvine is a partner in the company.

Oenophiles have options of red, white and sparkling, with an emphasis on California and Pacific Northwest wineries, along with selections from Italy, New Zealand and France. Brand highlights include Eroica Riesling, Whispering Angel Rosé, Argyle Pinot Noir, Stags’ Leap Artemis Cabernet and Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc.

“We have something for everyone and a lot of drinks you won’t find anywhere else,” Irvine says. “I want people to get out of their comfort zones and try something different. And you’ll be able to enjoy a good drink and a good meal and not have to spend your mortgage.”

Read the entire article here.

New Zealand Wine Shines in the Shade of Mt. Beautiful

North Winds Wine Travel, Hilarie Larson

"New Zealand wine shines in the shade of Mount Beautiful"

​New Zealand is the epitome of ‘New World’ wine; innovative, eager, fresh and adventurous. Blazing new trails is nothing new in the world’s most southerly wine region.

The famous Southern Alps provide a much needed rain shadow for the vineyards of Mount Beautiful Winery in North Canterbury, New Zealand. photo courtesy of New Zealand Winegrowers

​‘Noble grapes’ (vitis vinefera) made their first appearance almost 100 years ago, in 1819, thanks to Church of England missionary Rev. Samuel Marsden, who planted vines on the North Island. The first wines, however, were created by James Busby, known as the ‘Father of Australian Wines’, thanks to his importation of vine cuttings from France and Spain. When he was posted to New Zealand in 1833, he brought a selection of the vines and produced his first vintage in 1836.

For decades, New Zealand’s most prevalent variety was an American grape, Isabella, that produced mostly sweet and fortified wines for local consumption. By the 1960’s and 70’s, vineyards began to expand to cooler regions and these obscure varieties were replaced with higher quality vinifera. One of the biggest influences occurred in the 1980’s, thanks to a young, government viticulturist by the name of Dr. Richard Smart. His bold, new ideas centered around ‘canopy management’ (the canopy being the leaves of the vine) and how it could be utilized to balance the growth of the plant and control yields. These ‘modern’ techniques are now commonly implemented around the wine-world.

Vineyard site selection became more important and many growers were drawn to the Southern Island with its cooler climate. New Zealand wines began to rise in quality and quantity, making export, especially of their trademark Sauvignon Blanc, a reality.

New Zealand, the world's most southerly wine grown region, hosts award winning vineyards on both the north and south islands.

​Today, vines are planted in 9 growing regions on both the North and South Islands. While officially in a temperate climate zone, the entire region is subject to huge maritime influences. The oceans moderate the temperatures, but also bring moisture, humidity and winds like the strong, westerly ‘Roaring 40’s’.

For this reason, the majority of the vineyards on the South Islands are planted on the gentle, undulating, western slopes of the Southern Alps, a chain of 18 high mountain peaks that form the ‘spine’ of the island. The mountains shield the vines from extreme winds, giving the area a long, dry growing season with plentiful sun.

The region of Canterbury/North Canterbury has been acclaimed by Decanter Magazine, as‘ the center of the finest Pinot Noir in the Southern hemisphere.’ yet it is still unknown by many wine lovers. Thanks to Mt. Beautiful Winery, that is all about to change.

David Teece, owner and founder of Mount Beautiful Winery, spent years searching for the perfect expression of New Zealand's many unique terroirs. photo courtesy of

​In the early 2000s, New Zealand native and renowned economic scholar David Teece, went in search of an ‘off the radar’, unique spot where he could start a vineyard and return to his family farming roots. In true, pioneering spirit, he finally located four farms in North Canterbury. The land was a mix of soft slopes and steep hills, with gullies and flats and a myriad of soil types. The farms lay in the shadow of Mount Beautiful.

Vines, an array of 30 different clones matched to the individual terroir, were planted in 2003 through 2005. Sauvignon Blanc is the most prolific and planted in the cooler, northern blocks, while Pinot Gris enjoys the warmer, north facing hills of silt and clay. The first variety to be bottled was Riesling, also planted in the higher elevations and sheltered by neighboring pine forests. Chardonnay joined the portfolio in 2013, but it’s the Pinot Noir, nestled in the warmer, southern sections, that really embody what Mt Beautiful is all about..

At a recent event, I had a chance to sample some of the latest vintages and enjoy a few perfect food pairings.

2016 Mt Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc
Not your typical ‘grassy, kiwi’ New Zealand take, but a more sophisticated and elegant, Bordeaux style. A small portion was barrel fermented, lending a nice balance between soft mango and ripe, tropical nuances and the slightly zesty kumquat notes on the finish. The pairing was a blueberry, nectarine and cream cheese galette, which accentuated the fruit character of the wine.

2015 Mt Beautiful Pinot Gris
Classic stone fruit aromas of peach and pear met with fresh cut hay and white florals that lingered through to the surprisingly full finish. Seeded whole-wheat crackers topped with chèvre and apricot preserves were a pitch perfect pairing.

2015 Mt Beautiful Pinot Noir
More Old World than New, with raspberry and dark strawberry notes, tinged with fresh thyme, fresh forest floor and light toast notes. Very easy to drink as an ‘apéro’ wine but food friendly, too. Paired nicely with Sweet Peppers stuffed with a herbed cream cheese.

Riesling Filtration

Mt Beautiful Winery Riesling Filtration

Here is a photo of our plate and frame filter equipment, shared by Assistant Winemaker Ben Weaver, while filtering our Riesling wine.

Filtration is one of two common treatments that help finish or polish a wine. Another treatment (that comes before filtering) is fining, which has the potential of changing the phenolics in the wine.

Both treatments occur just prior to bottling and it is 
our Winemaker and Assistant Winemaker who make the call on which course of action they'll take which each wine. 

2017 Benicia Fashion Runway

2017 Benicia Fashion Runway

For the second year, Mt. Beautiful Winery has been a wine sponsor for the Benicia Fashion Runway in downtown Benicia, California. Our wines were poured during Saturday's festivities for attendees of the event. 

A portion of the proceeds benefit the Soroptimist International of Benicia's Women's Resource and Safe House. 

About the event: 
"An ensemble of four designers from the Lifetime series “Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars  will be presenting their ready to wear collections on the catwalk during Benicia’s Fashion Runway, held September 29-30, 2017. They will be joined by several models that appeared on America’s Next Top Model including Ava Capra who appeared on Cycle 22. Ava will serve as the host for the evening and will walk the runway for each designer."

And so it begins - the start of the 2018 vintage!

Mt Beautiful Winery Bud Break

Today Garrick, our Vineyard Manager, reported: "As we are finishing the last of our pruning some of our early varieties are getting ready to swing into action!" And so it begins, another fabulous vintage! 

Bigger Than Your Head: Wine of the Day #277

Bigger Than Your Head
, Frederic Koeppel, July 2017 

"No kissy-face little princess of complacency, here’s a pinot gris from New Zealand that will make you take it and yourself seriously. It’s also quite delicious. The Mt. Beautiful Pinot Gris 2015, North Canterbury, fermented and aged in a combination of old oak barrels and stainless steel tanks, producing a pale pale gold wine that deftly balances an appealing almost lush, talc-like texture with the litheness and fleet crispness of bright acidity. 

Aromas of heather and hay, roasted lemon and lemon balm, lime peel and grapefruit get a big assist from burgeoning notes of damp flint and limestone, with an ineffable wafting of lilac and graphite. On the palate, structure is the main event, fashioned along the lines of bracing salinity and seashell-chalk-limestone minerality; while squaring your shoulders for that admittedly supple onslaught — and this is a shatteringly dry wine — enjoy the tasty and attractive flavors of fresh apples and spiced pears, all aimed toward a finish of cloves, steel and grapefruit rind. 

The slight tension between texture and structure keeps the wine lively and exciting. 14.5 percent alcohol. Drink through 2019 to ’21 with grilled fish, seafood risotto or, a favorite at our house, cod stew with leeks, potatoes and chorizo. Production was 1,450 cases. Excellent. About $19."


SF Int'l Wine Competition: "Best Pinot Noir" + "Best of Nation" - Two Double Gold Medals!

SF Int'l Wine Competition,
 July 2017 

The results are in from this year's SF Int'l Wine Competition and we couldn't be happier. Our 2015 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir was singled out as "Best Pinot Noir" receiving a Double Gold Medal and 98 Points, and our just-released 2016 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc was awarded a Double Gold Medal and 95 Points. In addition, out of 77 New Zealand wineries that entered this year's competition, Mt. Beautiful Winery was chosen as "Best of Nation." 

Best Roses for the Summer Boating Season

Foodandwinetravelchix (1)

Linda Kissam,, July 2017

Roses For Summer Boating Season

Ahoy Matey’s! The summer boating season is officially underway.  What will you be sipping on those easy breezy nautical moments this year?

Rosé wine and food pairings are a natural for the warm summer months – especially when served aboard a boat. Sail, power, or canoe … all offer a perfect setting for a refreshing glass of Rosé.

Rosé wine has made a stunning comeback in the past few years. And why shouldn’t it? Rosés are seductively fun, drinkable wines that are versatile enough to go with a light deck lunch to a knock-out main salon dinner combo. There are enough styles out there to please everyone.

Many Rosés possess excellent flavor profiles.  The best ones are drier and crisper than one might expect – which allows for a full display of flavors and aromas. But there is a place for a wide range of flavors and style, all of which are explored in this article.  Remember, in the end, if YOU like it, it is a winner.

The aromas and flavor of Rosés are primarily influenced by the particular grape varieties used to produce the wine but also the method of production also plays an important part. To make most Rosé wines, red grapes are lightly crushed and left to macerate with their red skins for a little while (anywhere from a few hours to a few days), after which the juice is strained out from the solid stuff (called “must”) and fermented in tanks. A true Rosé is made from red grapes, not a mix of red and white grapes, although there are Rosés offered that have been blended with white grapes to help “punch up” color and taste or present a new style into the market.

Drinking is believing. The world of Rosé wines is made up of flowers and fruits expressing natural freshness. Don’t expect a Rosé wine to present with the strength and the power of red wines, you’ll be disappointed. Do expect summer in a glass; red flowers and fruits. Think watermelon, roses, red currants, and raspberry. On occasion you may pick up lilac, Jolly-Rodger and bubble gum notes.

Pairing Tips

Which foods pair best with Rosés? Rosés are made for warm summer evenings, patio dining, friends and memories. Serve dishes that fit with that kind of setting and you’re on the right road.

Do not pair Rosé wine with foods that will drown out its delicate flavor. So stay clear of: tomato sauces, red meat dishes, butter, heavy creams, eggs, and overpowering aromatic spices.

Light pasta dishes – like linguine with olive oil, garlic, and mussels – make a wonderful choice for roses. Some stuffed pastas work – like a vegetable-stuffed cannelloni, or a ricotta stuffed ravioli. The trick is that if cheese is used, is should be extremely light, mild and neutral in flavor, almost whipped in texture, or otherwise an easily paired, not-pungent cheese.

Seafood dishes that focus on the minimal preparation to let the seafood flavors shine – lobster tail, lightly grilled crab cakes, and shrimp cocktails will complement a well-structured Rosé.

Summer salads of course are also an excellent option – just steer clear of bitter greens like kale that will quickly smoother your Rosé glass with all the wrong flavors. Instead think of water-filled vegetables and fruit like iceberg lettuce, chard, bok choy, clementines, pomegranate kernels, watermelon slices, apple slices, and strawberries.

Summer foods, like tomato salads, olives, and vegetables right off the grill come to mind.  Rosés love impetuous flavors: salty, a little spicy, summer herbs like basil and oregano, and, of course, garlic.  Prosciutto and melon? Perfect. Toasts with tapenade? Even better. Pork sausages right off the grill are terrific with Rosés, grilled vegetables such as peppers, zucchini and eggplant, seasoned with handfuls of basil and sprinkled with good olive oil.

Lastly cheeses.  Many cheeses can be challenging to wines, usually overwhelming their character, but rosés hold up very well to a number of cheeses, especially those of Spain. Try a tangy and earthy Roncal or Idiazabal, a Zamorano or Majorero sheep’s cheese, and finally try one of the many Cabrales blue cheeses now available in the US.

It is now up to you to learn what goes best with Rosés. Keep in mind that Rosés are enjoyed year around, especially by Mediterranean food enthusiasts. They are at their best when served chilled. However, when too cold they lose their delicate aromas and flavors. If served too warm, the residual sugar in many Rosés produce an unpleasant, cloying sensation and the overt fruitiness of the wine can create the sensation of drinking warm punch.

At a recent tasting aboard my Grand Banks boat, I found the following to be amongst the best Rosé wine picks for the summer boating season – for a variety of reasons.  Each has its own place in my on-board bar.   Enjoy!

Rosé Tasting

Comparing domestic and international sparkling, still, blended, single varietal, lo-cal and can.

Mt Beautiful Rosé 2016. $20. New Zealand: I am a big fan of this winery.  This wine is traditionally made from Pinot Noir juice pressed off after light contact and fermented in barrel and tank. Summer floral notes, a hint of herbaceousness and penetrating red berry aromas on the nose. Dry on the palate with good acidity. Juicy watermelon and pink grapefruit notes make this medium bodied wine a winner. Ranked second in the tasting, but a case could easily be made for first place." 

An Update on the 2017 Blends

Erin And Robert Barrel Room Pouring Wine

The 2017 harvest wrapped up at the end of April, and now we mostly wait and see what this year’s vintage expresses. We asked Ben Weaver, our Assistant Winemaker, to comment on each varietal.

“As a general update the wines are looking really good. Chardonnay was 50% barrel fermented and remains in barrel on lees developing texture. 50% is also going through malolactic ferment which softens acids as well as brings complexity to the wine; subtle buttery and oak flavours. It’s looking really good!

Pinot Noir is all in barrel going through natural malolactic ferment. This wine will remain in barrel for roughly 12 months which allows time for the tannins to soften and become more integrated. We have a 20% new oak regime so the wine also needs the 12 months for the oak tannin and flavour to become more integrated and rounded.

Pinot Gris and Riesling are both bedded down developing texture. Our Riesling is roughly 18g residual sugar; sweeter than normal due to early picking and high acidity, and a wine with longevity on its side.

NZ Harvest Low Resolution Card 1 78

Our Sauvignon Blanc is all bedded down as well and of very good quality. It is currently sitting on lees developing texture. Some of the very last Sauvignon Blanc was handpicked this year (woohoo!). This has gone to barrel and is looking fantastic! It has body and fruit in abundance as well as being complex with fantastic length. We will definitely be looking to repeat this in our Sauvignon Blanc programme in years to come.”

Laying the Groundwork for the 2018 Vintage

Mt Beautiful Winery And Vineyard Pruning A
photo: Vineyard Manager, Garrick Guy

It seems like just yesterday that the vineyard was covered in lush green vines as far as the eye could see. Now, it lies dormant in the middle of New Zealand's winter. We have however begun one of the most arduous, careful and resultantly most expensive activities that takes place in the vineyard each year. It lays the groundwork for the next vintage's success ... and that activity is pruning!

On the Mt. Beautiful Vineyard we employ two primary forms of pruning; cane and spur. Click here to read more about these in a previous blog post we published.

Our Vineyard Manager, Garrick Guy shared a couple photos taken recently and notes "We have started pruning the Sauvignon Blanc. You are looking at a two cane vine that is halfway through been pruned. We have removed all last season's foliage and are ready to tie down the beginning of 2018 foliage. Plus here's a picture of the awesome sunrise we had yesterday."

Mt Beautiful Winery And Vineyard Pruning C

photo: Vineyard Manager, Garrick Guy

8 & $20: Arepas with Venezuelan Chicken Salad

Wine Spectator Magazine Logo
By Nicole Ruiz Hudson, Wine Spectator, June 29, 2017

8And20 Arepas062717 1600

"Stuff these simple, satisfying cornmeal cakes with a creamy chicken and apple salad, topped with cheese and avocado, and complemented by a Portuguese white.

Eight ingredients, plus pantry staples. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a treat for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

I have a soft spot for arepas.

My parents are both Venezuelan, so I grew up eating the cornmeal cakes common in Venezuela and Colombia. They’re a staple consumed at all hours of the day, whether at home, from street vendors, or at restaurants. Basically, they’re used like bread: served simply with a little cheese or butter, used to make sandwiches, or as an accompaniment for a sit-down family meal.

They're also remarkably easy to make. Arepas are made from a precooked white cornmeal called masarepa. (Note: Masarepa is not interchangeable with other types of cornmeal; masarepa is cooked before it is milled, yielding a finer, more flourlike consistency than regular cornmeal, which is milled raw.) And because they're corn-based, arepas are also gluten free.

Masarepa can be a little difficult to find in many parts of the country, but it's easily purchased online (P.A.N. and Goya are common brands). Simply mix it with water and salt to make a quick arepa dough, which can then be deep-fried or cooked on the stove and finished in the oven, as I’ve done here.

A popular Venezuelan sandwich is the reina pepiada, an arepa stuffed with chicken salad and avocado. The sandwich's name is a tribute to a former Miss World from Venezuela, and it loosely translates as “curvy queen.”

Every home or restaurant might have their own take on this chicken salad. My family’s version takes quite a long time to make, which means it’s not all that feasible for a weeknight. For this rendition, I tried to streamline it as much as possible while still retaining the flavor. To start with, I used a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken to keep things easy. If you’re making it from scratch, the traditional version uses poached chicken, but feel free to use any leftover chicken you have on hand.

Other common additions include boiled potatoes, onions, celery, lemon or lime juice, and red peppers—add any of the above and more, as you like. It’s also common to top the sandwiches with queso blanco (literally “white cheese”), or one of several other Venezuelan fresh cheeses. Alternatives include Mexican cotija, queso fresco, or even mozzarella or feta.

The arepas have a dense texture, and the chicken salad is creamy, but it also has a bright piquancy. A fresh white wine with some body seemed in order, so we opted to try a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a Portuguese white blend from the Douro.

The Sauvignon Blanc offered plenty of bright citrus and tropical fruit notes, as well as some green pepper; it was juicy and refreshing and made a really solid match, but might have worked even better if the salad had included herbs, green chiles or peppers. The Douro blend had more rounded fruit notes of melon and ripe citrus. It was refreshing too, but also showed more minerality and textural complexity, which ultimately made it the favorite."

Pair with a well-rounded white blend like Casa Ferreirinha Douro White Planalto Reserva 2015 (88 points, $15) from Portugal, or try a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc like Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc North Canterbury 2015 (89, $16).

Click here for this recipe!

New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival 2017


For the past couple years we've enjoyed participating in the New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival, and 2017 was no exception. 

This was the festival's fifth anniversary that showcased wines from some of New Zealand’s foremost boutique wine producers. The event venue was Auckland's stunning Imperial Buildings located downtown; built between 1886 and 1911, reflecting "a rich mix of heritage spaces and building fabric in downtown Auckland."  

The event not only offered the opportunity to meet the winemakers themselves, but the opportunity for guests to be privy to stimulating discussions lead by some of New Zealand's most influential wine commentators.

Erin Harrison, our New Zealand Business Development and Operations Manager, had a great time introducing our wines to those unfamiliar and sharing new vintages with our existing fan base.

If you're a wine lover and find yourself in Auckland during the month of June, make sure there's time on your agenda to attend this fabulous festival!

The Tasting Panel: Excellent Reviews on These New Releases

Tasting Panel

The Tasting Panel,
 June 2017

We're ecstatic over these new reviews we just received by Anthony Dias-Blue of The Tasting Panel and Blues Reviews! 

2015 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir - 92 Points 
“Deep ruby color; smooth, lush texture; dense, ripe black cherry with flesh, spice and oak notes; juicy and deep, long and balanced.”

2016 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc - 91 Points 
“Smooth and lush with crisp and lively acidity; rich and dense, ripe and long.” 

2015 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay - 90 Points 
“Bright, clean and juicy with silky texture and good depth; long, smooth and toasty; racy and dense; fresh and lively” 

2016 Mt. Beautiful Rose - 89 Points 
“Light ruby color; fruity and floral with red berry flavors; crisp with racy minerals and bright acidity; extra dry.”

Shop these wines here.

2016 Mt. Beautiful Sauv Blanc - A Top 10 Wine for Summer!

Gayot Logo 400X209

Dan Dunn (@TheImbiber), Gayot, June 2017

We can't think of a better way to start off summer than our new release 2016 Mt. Beautiful Sauvinon Blanc being chosen as one of Gayot contributor Dan Dunn's Top 10 Wines of Summer!

"The Best Wines for Summer Sipping 

The quest to unearth the best summer wines began and ended at one of America's premiere epicurean events — the 35th Anniversary Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado, where hundreds upon hundreds of the world's finest winemakers converged to showcase their wares. And while selecting just ten great bottles of wine was a near impossible task, as the great T.S. Eliot once said, "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." This one goes to ten. Enjoy! 

Typically, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is known for its pungent odors and grassy, tart palate. Ah, but Mt. Beautiful, in the heart of North Canterbury, on the South Island of New Zealand, produces anything but typical Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. The nose is pure flower garden, and the predominant flavor is tropical fruit. It's no pushover, mind you, but the acidity has been tamped down in favor of a rounder, creamier mid-palate experience."

Mt. Beautiful: North Canterbury, New Zealand

Lyn LM Archer

By L.M. Archer, The Hedonistic Taster - BinNotes - redthread, June 5, 2017

"For those of you unfamiliar with Mt. Beautiful, the story centers around a man, a country, and a quest.

In 2003, world-renown economist and avid outdoorsman David Teece and his wife Leigh set about locating a region where no vineyards yet existed in his native country of New Zealand. His goal: Make world-class wine where no wine had ever been made.

With the  the help of geologist and friend Ron Sutherland, Teece eventually honed in on North Canterbury, an area on the South Island between the Southern Alps and Kaikoura. At first glance, the region’s unrelenting nor’westers, sweltering summers, minimal rainfall, frost-prone winters, and rugged morphology didn’t appear conducive to farming grapes.

But the land’s twenty-three different soil types, including ‘Phoebe,’ a well-draining glacial till/loess/volcanic ash concoction, combined with a myriad of microclimates, proved an alluring gamble. Teece and his wife purchased a total of 184.32 acres, christening the virgin vineyard Mt. Beautiful.

Determined to grow cultivars different from its neighbors in nearby Marlborough, Mt. Beautiful boasts over thirty different clonal selections, each varying in flavor, color, berry size, ripening, phenolics, tannins, susceptibility to disease, and ability to withstand drought and frost, among other characteristics."

... read the entire post here.

Mt. Beautiful Winery's 2017 Harvest Recap

The Mt. Beautiful 2017 grape harvest wrapped up at the end of April. Here's a little recap including photos as well as insights from our Winemaker Sam Weaver, Assistant Winemaker Ben Weaver and Vineyard Manager Garrick Guy.

Grapes In Bin Pint Noir

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes On Vine

In total we harvested over 430 tonness of grapes; the large majority being Sauvignon Blanc (313T) and Pinot Noir (64T) with lesser quantities of Riesling (12T), Pinot Gris (22T) and Chardonnay (20T).

NZ Harvest Low Resolution Card 3 233

Winemaker Sam Weaver noted “Though it was a challenging vintage my view is that North Canterbury and in particular Mt. Beautiful missed the worst of the weather events. The result is that we harvested some very good fruit and there will be some very good wines from the vintage."

Pinot Noir Hand Harvest Mt Beautiful Winery
** Pinot Noir grapes being hand harvested.

Pinot Noir Grapes On Vine
** Pinot Noir grapes on the vine.

Sam continues " As you are aware the weather conditions during the growing season were cool which meant that ripening was late in comparison to the last two years. Towards the end of harvest, however, we picked some excellent fruit across most varieties. In some respects that later picked fruit was better than some fruit picked in 2016.

We started harvest on 31st of March with Pinot Noir and concluded harvest with Pinot Gris on the 28th of April. The most challenging variety this year for Mt. Beautiful was Riesling which we picked relatively early due to disease pressure. Nevertheless the resulting wine will be very drinkable.

We picked all blocks on the vineyard. Though there were stresses and anxieties during the vintage we came through remarkably well. Yields in Pinot Noir were significantly down but in all other varietals they were near normal."

Ben Weaver adds "The more you work in the same place the more you understand the quirks and can iron them out. It also means when you have mechanical break downs you know how to get around it and find alternatives a lot quicker. As was the case this year. The vintage crew was great. A very strong French contingent as well as Maura from the US. All very hard working and enthusiastic. Vintage is incredible hard work and long hours. It takes a special person to keep going and have a fun time doing it. They were all fantastic."

Mt. Beautiful had some firsts this season. For one, this was our first vintage with our new Vineyard Manager, Garrick Guy! We also harvested our Marle Block of Pinot Noir (planted 2013) for the first time, located east of our main vineyard and planted on a north facing slope.

Garrick comments "This block has the opportunity to bring some great flavours and complexity to our already great Mt. beautiful Pinot Noir blend.”

And lastly earlier this year we purchased a powerful new vineyard netting machine which can cover four rows of vines at a time. This proved to not only be a huge time saver but also great insurance in preserving our crop from the threat of birds. 

Vineyard Netting Mt Beautiful Winery

Keep scrolling to view additional photos of the 2017 harvest with captions. More photos can be viewed in our "Vintage 2017" album here.

Tractor With Grapes Riesling Night Pick
** Mt. Beautiful's first night pick by hand.

Night Time Grapes Arriving To Winery
** Riesling tractored from the vineyard to winery in the evening.

Sorting Table White Grapes
** CEO Robert Watkins and Director of Viticulture Fin Grieve sorting grapes

Maura Marian And Marguax
** Harvest Interns Margaux and Marian (France) and Maura (US)

Francois Mt Beautiful Harvest Intern
** Harvest Intern Francois (France)

Garrick Guy Vineyard Manager Of Mt Beautiful Winery
** Mt. Beautiful's Vineyard Manager, Garrick Guy, standing in one place long enough for this photo.

Vineyard Manager Fin In Mland Rover
** Director of Viticulture, Fin Grieve ready to roll!

Robert Watkins Chardonnay Tanks
** CEO Robert Watkins getting the up-high view of the new Chardonnay tanks.

Chardonnay Tank Installation
** New Chardonnay tanks delivered and installed just in time for harvest!

Robert Fin Sam Discussing Picking Schedule
** Fin, Sam and Robert discussing the picking schedule block by block.

Pinot Noir Grape Harvest From Machine
**Pinot Noir, normally hand harvested at Mt. Beautiful, was machine harvested specifically for the creation of our rosé wine.

Erin And Murphy In Side By Side
** Business Development Manager Erin Harrison taking furry friend Murphy for a ride through the vineyard to check up on things.

Doggy Break
** Erin's dog Murphy and Garrick's dog Base having some fun!

Close Up Hands On Sorting Table Pinot Noir Grapes
** Sorting Pinot Noir grapes.