Media articles and press releases from our Nelson family vineyard

Yvonne Lorkin recommends our Gewurztraminer 2019 in Canvas, NZ Herald's Lifestyle Magazine

Yvonne LorkingIn this week's Canvas well-loved wine commentator Yvonne Lorkin recommends our Blackenbrook Nelson Gewurztraminer 2019 to go with Annabel Langbein's recipe for Char-grilled Butterfly Tandoori-style Chicken - a truly mouth-watering combination!

Here's what Yvonne Lorkin says about the wine:

"This Gewurztraminer unleashes a lahar of luscious stonefruit succulence and tropical taste sensations on the nose and palate, alongside a sprinkling of ginger, white pepper and nashi niceness. Crisp, textural and deliciously dry on the finish.  It wraps itself around this tasty tandoori terrifically."



Read the article from Canvas, New Zealand Herald's Lifestyle Magazine here.

Vegan Vino - Michael Cooper's column in the latest New Zealand Listener



Vegan wines and the "vegan food revolution" are the topic of Michael Cooper's column in the latest New Zealand Listener.  The trend is growing and an increasing number of consumers are seeking out vegan wines. 

wMichael Cooper looks at various ways of making vegan wines and includes our winery as prime example:  |

Blackenbrook Vineyard near Nelson, which has a gravity-fed winery, reports that it doesn't add finings, "because we don't need to ... gravity does most of the work".

As a mouth-watering vegan example he recommends our Blackenbrook Pinot Gris 2017:

Estate grown at Tasman, this is an aromatic, softly mouthfilling wine.  Made in a medium-dry style, it has lychee, pear and spice flavours that show excellent vibrancy, delicacy and depth. 
4 Stars. 

Thank you Michael!

Read the entire article here.







Our Gewurztraminer impresses wine writer Neil Hodgson

We were thrilled to read Neil Hodgson's wine review in last night's Nelson Mail:

Blackenbrook Gewurztraminer 2016, 4 1/2 Stars
Oily and textural in the mouth, the wine is simply packed with flavour but isn’t too heavy, rather it is opulent without being cloying and has lovely acidity in the very long finish. Perfect with any dish that has a little spice.

The Nelson Mail, 22 Nov 2017

Restaurant & Cafe Magazine featuring our Blackenbrook Vineyard

Fantastic to see our Blackenbrook Vineyard featured in the Restaurant & Cafe Online Edition: 

Restaurant & Cafe Magazine


Daniel & Ursula Schwarzenbach of award-winning Nelson winery Blackenbrook"Ever since first meeting at a wine tasting dinner in the Swiss Alps, Daniel and Ursula Schwarzenbach had the dream of planting their own vineyard in New Zealand, building a winery and marketing the wine under the Blackenbrook label.

The name Blackenbrook is a translation of the family name – Schwarz meaning black, and Bach meaning brook, or creek. “This is our philosophy in a nutshell” explained Ursula. “We are a family vineyard, concentrating on producing the best possible wine from our 8ha vineyard.” The family aspect of the business even extends to the Schwarzenbach children, Thomas (13) and Isabelle (9), who, according to Ursula, are great helpers – “although it’s possible that they don’t get a choice!” [...]

Daniel and Ursula are first generation winemakers. “It would be wonderful to see one or both our children following in our footsteps and one day taking over Blackenbrook. With our sustainable vineyard practices, we tread lightly on the land, hopefully ensuring a long and prosperous future for the vineyard.” At the moment Blackenbrook vines occupy less than half of the total section, leaving the option open for future expansion or experimentation.

“Wine is a living thing, wine is art and creativity, but also chemistry – and above all, it is different every year. There is never a dull moment as a winemaker!”

Read the entire article here. 


Himmelsfeld - 25 years in the making

Elisabeth Eggers of Himmelsfeld Vineyard, Upper Moutere, NelsonHimmelsfeld Vineyard has just turned 25!  Owner Beth Eggers planted the vineyard all those years ago and Daniel has been making her wine since 1998.  She is profiled in the latest Nelson Grape & Wine Magazine.  

Here's an excerpt from the article:
"After spending more time in Europe I was clear in my mind that the vineyard would remain small and I would like to grow fruit to make quality wines, and hopefully wines that would cellar well.  

I needed someone who could nurture the fruit through its winemaking process and Daniel Schwarzenbach, a man of excellence, has enabled Himmelsfeld to reach its levels."




Thank you Beth, we are proud to walk this journey alongside you!



Control from grape to glass

The Nelson Mail, 13 October 2015
by Neil Hodgson

Daniel and Ursula Schwarzenbach at their Nelson vineyardOne of the really exciting things about small, boutique vineyards and wineries is that the owners are generally prepared to try different things.

Daniel and Ursula Schwarzenbach established Blackenbrook Vineyards (Blackenbrook is the English version of the family name) at Tasman at the start of this century.

Their first full vintage was in 2004 and when they planted the first part of the land in vineyards some of the varieties they chose were untested in the area and they just didn’t know whether or not the varieties planted would produce the quality of fruit they needed to allow them to make outstanding examples of these varieties.

The vineyard land is formed from Moutere clay soils, gently sloping north facing and while slightly elevated is reasonably close to the coast so is exposed to cooling mid-afternoon sea breezes. Small quantities of some Gewürztraminer, Montepulciano and Muscat were planted along with the more common Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The focus of the aromatic wines produced by Blackenbrook is on the varieties and style of Alsace in France while the fuller style red variety Montepulciano is one the Schwarzenbachs thought they might be able to get to fully ripen on their site. Time has now told us that the site they chose is exceptional and, combined with intensive viticulture, a winemaking facility that is designed to treat the grapes and resulting wines very gently and masterful winemaking techniques, is now producing some stunning aromatic style wines as well as delicious, flavoursome Montepulciano with a twist of minty freshness that reflects its cool climate location.

In making any wine the real work takes place in the vineyard because without great fruit winemakers can’t weave their magic and turn the fruit into great wine. The Bragato Wine Awards are designed to recognise the work growers put in to producing the great fruit; if the fruit is great then winemakers don’t need to weave too much magic, they can just let the fruit express itself in the finished product.

The effort that goes in to producing beautiful grapes in an environmentally sustainable way shouldn’t be underestimated; at Blackenbrook it all starts with the rain water that is gathered for use in the winery to clean tanks and washing down during production.

In the vineyard, working with a couple of staff, Daniel ensures everything that needs to be done happens with meticulous care and attention to detail to ensure the quality is there from the beginning. Good fruit is where great wine starts. The Schwarzenbach’s say “that without great long-term staff who understand the quality we want we wouldn’t be able to make the wines we do”.

Being in control of everything from the vineyard to the bottle is the reason for the latest step, taking control of the bottling process rather than relying on contract bottlers. They are installing a top-of-the-line bottling line using the latest technology that handles the wine in a very gentle manner. While this is a huge investment that includes construction of a new building at the winery it is one the Schwarzenbachs are confident will help keep them at the front of the pack when it comes to producing wines with pure varietal characters.

Back to the Bragato Wine Awards, it is a remarkable achievement that not only has Blackenbrook Vineyards won a best in class trophy five times in wine competitions but three of these are Bragato Trophies for the aromatic wines it produces providing more proof, if there was any doubt, they have an outstanding vineyard site and the meticulous work the Schwarzenbachs and their staff put into the vineyards results in great wines.

The first Bragato gold medal and trophy combination came in 2007 for their 2007 vintage Sauvignon Blanc (also won a trophy at the New Zealand International Wine Show 2007). The second Bragato trophy came in 2014 for their Pinot Gris 2013 and they followed it up with their third for Gewurztraminer 2014 which was awarded a month ago.

Of course to achieve results like this any small business needs to have the right people with the right attitude and Daniel and Ursula bring both of those attributes to their wine business, they continue to develop their wine making venture with a focus on purity of flavour in all of the wines they produce.

Excellent review for our Nelson Muscat 2014

Neil Hodgson's wine recommendation in the Nelson MailFantastic to see Neil Hodgson, wine commentator for the Nelson Mail impressed by the high quality of our Nelson Muscat 2014:  

"The Blackenbrook Muscat 2014 is made in an off-dry style but with plenty of fullness in the palate.  As we have come to expect from Blackenbrook the wines have a purity we don't often see, especially in this variety.  Flavours of spiced lychee and ripe orange citrus with spritz-like zesty acidity in the long finish make it a most attractive wine."

Thank you Neil Hodgson!

The Nelson Mail, 26 May 2015

Blackenbrook celebrates another top award for Pinot Gris

News Release - for immediate release
12 November 2014
Download Press Release

Pure Elite Gold Medal from Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2014A personal passion for Pinot Gris has netted Blackenbrook Vineyard in Tasman near Nelson, its fourth top award within two months! Their 2013 Pinot Gris has just brought home a gold medal from the well-respected Air New Zealand Wine Awards, after also winning a gold medal and the Trophy for best Pinot Gris at the Bragato Wine Awards 2014, held in Blenheim in September.

But it’s not just the 2013 vintage that shines - the 2014 Pinot Gris has already been decorated with gold medals from Bragato Wine Awards 2014 and New Zealand International Wine Show 2014 before its official release in December.

Family owned and run Blackenbrook was one of the first vineyards in the Nelson region to plant Pinot Gris in 2001. Since 2007, owner and winemaker Daniel Schwarzenbach has earned numerous five star ratings and gold medals for his Pinot Gris including a Trophy for Best Pinot Gris at the New Zealand International Wine Show (2008 Reserve Pinot Gris), a Bragato Gold (2008), and five stars (2009 and 2010) from leading wine commentators Michael Cooper and Bob Campbell MW (2007).
Renowned Wine Commentator Michael Cooper says “Blackenbrook is one of the highest-achieving wineries on the Nelson scene, with a reputation for aromatic white wines - Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc - that are rich and full of personality.”

Winemaker Daniel Schwarzenbach with Trophy-winning Pinot GrisDaniel Schwarzenbach says he has always had a desire to produce outstanding Pinot Gris:
“Before starting our own vineyard, I worked as a cellar hand for Domaine Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace, one of the top Pinot Gris producers worldwide. It was a fantastic experience and I couldn’t wait to get home and start planting our own Aromatics.”

Pinot Gris always took centre stage in the Blackenbrook vineyard: the best part of their land was planted with the latest clones. “We hand pick the grapes and they’re processed as gently as possible through our gravity-fed sustainable winery. I believe that has a lot to do with the outcome in the glass,” says Daniel.

“I am delighted to see our Pinot Gris doing well year after year and each accolade spurs me on to keep fine-tuning my vineyard management and winemaking. Every year brings new challenges and there is so much more to be learnt about this wonderful grape variety.”

All Blackenbrook wines are 100% sustainably produced and accredited by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. Their white and rose wines are vegan, certified by the New Zealand Vegetarian Society. The 2013 and 2014 top-rated Pinot Gris are available for sale directly from the Blackenbrook website.

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