Top awards, exciting wine events and celebrations at our Nelson winery

Visiting our newest export market Japan - what a fantastic experience!

Masahiro Danbara of Southern Cross Ltd


I have just returned from my very first visit to Tokyo - and what a great week I had in this huge Metropolis!

I was blown away by the amazing Japanese hospitality – everybody was so welcoming and helpful – maybe I didn’t need to be so nervous after all!

It was great to finally meet our Importer Mr Danbara of Southern Cross.  We had only started working together 1 1/2 years ago, but Japan has quickly become our most important Export Market

Mr Danbara is working hard to promote Blackenbrook, and our wines are already available from Hokkaido to Okinawa, from Osaka to Tokyo and in countless places in between!


Our new Shangri-La labels with Marilyn Andrews colourful paintings of Nelson look great on the Japanese wine shelves.  They are positive and vibrant, standing forNelson’s laid-back lifestyle in the sunwhich is so different to life in Tokyo!  The labels are hugely popular and open many a door for us…

I’ve met many customers of Southern Cross, chatted about our wines and vision, and made new friends.

We hosted a wine dinner at Bistro Jiro Betterave and the fabulous New Zealand Natural Night, where we introduced New Zealand Adventure Tourism, Honey, Tea, Cosmetics and of course our wine to 170 guests – it was a buzz!

… but it was not all hard work. Mr Danbara and his friends introduced me to many kinds of amazing Japanese food:  Ramen, Soba Noodles, Nabe, Sushi,  Sashimi,  Unagi, Okonomiyaki … and of course the delicious Sake!  Cuisine is an art form in Japan and I can’t wait to go back!  


Japanese wine buyer seeks out Nelson Art

Nelson artist Marilyn Andrews and Ursula SchwarzenbachJapanese wine importer Southern Cross is about to use Nelson art as a way of promoting wine from Nelson vineyard Blackenbrook to the Japanese market.

The Blackenbrook Art Series includes three wines using well-known Nelson artist Marilyn Andrews’ paintings: Shangri-La Sauvignon Blanc 2012 displays the painting “Summer View from Princes Drive”; Shangri-La Gewürztraminer 2011 shows “View from Stansell Ave and Shangri-La Pinot Noir 2011 is illustrated with “Pathways to Heaven”.

The first shipment of the Blackenbrook Art Series wines has just arrived in Japan and the official release in Tokyo is planned for 13 September.

Read entire Press Release here.



Blackenbrook first South Island winery to be vegetarian aproved

New Zealand Vegetarian SocietyFamily owned and operated Blackenbrook Vineyard in Tasman, near Nelson is proud to be the first Vegetarian wine producer in the South Island approved by the New Zealand Vegetarian Society.

Blackenbrook’s white and Rosé wines will carry the Vegetarian Society Approved Trademark which is run under strict licensing criteria from the UK Vegetarian Society.

Read entire Press Release here .




Blackenbrook Pinot Gris served at New Zealand's parliament in Wellington

Our Blackenbrook Pinot Gris 2011 has just been added to the wine list of the cafes and restaurants at the Beehive in Wellington – a proud moment!

May it inspire our politicians to search for assertive and generous solutions for our beautiful country!

New Zealand Parliament in Wellington


Nelson Gewürztraminer champions launch re-education campaign

Nelson winemakers Daniel & Ursula SchwarzenbachWine commentator Yvonne Lorkin, top restaurateur Shae Moleta of The Ambeli Restaurant in Wellington and Blackenbrook Vineyard have combined to champion New Zealand’s top Gewürztraminer wines. They say wait staff and customers need more education about this amazing variety.

For too long, Gewürztraminer (pronounced Gi-vurz-tra-meaner) hasn’t had the respect it deserves in New Zealand’s Fine Dining scene.  It has been treated as an outsider, with Thai food as the only possible food match.  But there is a lot more to this classical Alsatian variety.

New Zealand Gewürztraminer is extremely fragrant, with rose petals, lychee, cinnamon and ginger tantalising your senses.

Gewürztraminer pairs well with salty, spicy, smoked or fruity foods.  In Alsace it is served with Tarte Flambé (or Flammenkuchen), Choucroute with European Sausages and smoked Meats or an assortment of washed rind and blue vein cheeses.






But it also harmonises beautifully with a Crab Salad with Ginger and dried Orange Peel, a Dukkah crusted Salmon or an Asian braised Pork Belly. 

To counter some of the myths and prejudices against Gewürztraminer, Blackenbrook Vineyard has prepared a Gewürztraminer basic information sheet titled “Gewürztraminer – the fresh Dimension to New Zealand Fine Dining”. They will send it to restaurants around New Zealand and will also have it available for download from their website.

The aim is to arm Chefs and Front of House Staff with valuable information that will lead to opening doors for many more New Zealanders to try and fall in love with this amazing grape variety.

Read Press Release here

Read Blackenbrook Gewurztraminer Flyer here

 Blackenbrook Nelson Reserve Gewurztraminer 2010

End of another top-quality harvest in Nelson - time for celebration!

It’s been a fantastic vintage with unbelievably blue skies, a great and loyal picking Team and stunning fruit.

But watch out – there won’t be huge quantities available of the 2012 vintage:  The temperamental Spring weather has reduced our crop by about a third…

Vintage was late this year – about three weeks later than normal, and we were extremely worried the Autumn rains might set in before our precious crop was picked.  But the Weather Gods were kind and sent us an amazing Indian Summer … just the ticket for developing dense flavours and physiological ripeness.

… and now it’s raining – we’ve been so lucky!


Finessing our Filtration

Gentle winemaking at our gravity-fed winery in NelsonFiltration is a very invasive step. But unfortunately we need to filter because we can’t bottle cloudy wine.

In the past, we contracted in a large cross-flow filter unit that pushes the wine at great speed through spaghetti-type filaments to force out unwanted particles. But it had a lot of disadvantages, starting with the chemicals needed to clean and preserve the system – phosphoric acid, caustic soda and citric acid.

We recycle all our water and therefore prefer working with steam rather than hard cleaning substances. Also it’s too big for what we require, uses lots of power and goes against our philosophy of gentle winemaking.

We decided to go back to the original principle of filtering called depth filtration using plates and frame. Traditionally, you do several passes through the plate and frame filter, going from coarse filter sheets to medium and then fine. This means three lots of pumping, three lots of dirty tanks, three lots of cleaning and you keep losing CO² on the way. What I wanted to do was to go from cloudy to sterile wine in a single pass. It’s common to have two different grades of filter sheets on the filter, but the unique concept was to add a third. Filtration experts around the world said we couldn’t do it. They wouldn’t even sell us the equipment. But I believed in the concept.

With help from a local engineer we manufactured the equipment and the new system works beautifully: it’s very quiet and energy efficient, gentle on the wine because of eliminated pumping steps and easier on the environment. I also love the fact that I now fully control filtration, rather than a contractor. Looking back, it’s been very satisfying to turn an idea into reality and take another step towards our goal of less intrusive winemaking.

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