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Allan Scott

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Family roots run deep. Nobody has more experience of growing grapes in Marlborough than Allan Scott. He planted some of the region’s most famous vineyards, including the very first, and he has worked there every vintage since.

As one of the first independent wineries to be established in Marlborough in 1990, Allan Scott Family Winemakers has made a name for itself in this highly competitive industry. Allan has racked up nearly 40 years in the wine business, which makes him one of the most experienced people in Marlborough when it comes to growing, making and marketing wine. When Allan and his wife Catherine decided to settle here in 1973, (Cathy is a fifth generation Marlburian) Allan took a job with Montana working in their new vineyards.

In 1980, he was head-hunted by Corbans to oversee the establishment of their Marlborough vineyards. He soon became their Senior Viticultural Manager, which not only gave him responsibility for the company’s entire national grape intake, but led him to become part of the winemaking team.

All of this stood him in good stead for the family’s foray into winemaking. Back then, there weren’t any boutique wineries to speak of in Marlborough. In 1975, Allan and Catherine purchased a block of land and got into contract growing. When the first independent winemakers started to emerge in Marlborough, they were in a perfect position to become a part of this new era in New Zealand’s wine industry, launching Allan Scott Wines in 1990.

Allan remembers it well. “We were one of a small number who made up the first wave of the independents.” The Allan Scott winery has seen some changes since then. Over the 25 years since its inception, the winery has evolved to keep ahead of the changing demands from the international market. Perhaps the biggest change has been its evolution into a true family business. Allan and Cathy’s three children have grown up to become valuable members of the business.

Elder daughter Victoria is responsible for Marketing, while their son Josh is chief winemaker, taking responsibility for the full range of wines produced. Younger daughter Sara has also trained as a winemaker, but works mostly in the vineyard. She has followed her father’s specialty as a viticulturalist and, according to Allan, has an almost instinctual approach to the industry.

Along with the core range of Allan Scott Estate wines, there is a single vineyard selection of prestige wines which uses the best grapes and careful cellaring to produce a limited volume of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir, with names like Hounds and Wallops to depict their origin. Any viticulturist will tell you that great wine is made in the vineyards, and the vineyard team work extremely closely with the winemaking team to ensure that only top quality fruit is delivered to them at harvest at peak ripeness and with great flavour.

With its distinctive combination of cool nights, sunny days and young soils, Marlborough is recognised as one of the world’s greatest wine regions. Within Marlborough, the Rapaura area along the northern edge of the Wairau Valley has become particularly prized. This is where Allan established the family’s vineyards, all in close proximity to the winery. Here, they can take advantage of the individual characteristics of each particular vineyard using specific viticultural practices designed to maximise their potential. With different soil types and vine ages, they can obtain a range of typical Marlborough flavours, from herbaceousness to very ripe, tropical fruit flavours. Each vine gets special attention as the team makes every effort to produce the best wine possible with each and every vintage.

The Scotts have planted four vineyards, each with a distinct character and purpose. The Moorlands Vineyard adjoins the winery and it was established 1980 with Riesling vines. This vineyard was the first in the district to be planted on grafted stock. Subsequent redevelopment has re-established the varietal mix of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

The Hounds Vineyard was established 1982 and borders the Wallops vineyard. The Hounds became part of the Allan Scott estate in 2004 and it is mainly planted with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This site is comprised of old river bed silt and clay loam which provides great structure to the wines and supplies the exceptional quality Pinot Noir for its namesake premium Pinot Noir, The Hounds.

The Wallops Vineyard, established in 1985, sits across Jacksons Road from the winery. The Wallops is the homestead block that was originally planted by Allan and Catherine in their role as contract growers for neighbouring winery, Cloudy Bay. The vineyard provides a major component of the Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc and features a small area of Chardonnay. This is also where the family has its nursery for grafting rootstock and budwood.

Finally, the Omaka Vineyard, which was planted with apple trees when it was acquired in 2000. It is now planted predominantly with Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir, but there are also small areas of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Merlot. Lying on part of the original bed of the Omaka River, the soils are gravelly and free-draining, with a slight variation to clay loams on the eastern side.
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