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Herringbone Hills

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Herringbone is a geological formation of hills bordering the vineyard. Their profile of undulating patterns either side of a central ridge line was caused by water flowing down the slopes and carving through the earth over thousands of years. These hills lie to the west of the vineyard and run parallel to the Waihopai River in Marlborough, New Zealand’s most respected wine region.

Lying at comparable latitudes to France and Italy’s best wine regions, New Zealand gets lots of strong sunshine. However, being surrounded by a vast expanse of cold ocean, the temperatures are at the cool end of the winegrowing spectrum. This combination makes New Zealand wines distinctly fresh and vibrant.

Marlborough is wedged between mountain ranges and the ocean, near the top of the South Island. Wine has only been grown here on any real scale since the 1970s, but in these few decades the region has become recognised internationally as a wine paradise. The Waihopai Valley marks the westernmost end of Marlborough’s main Wairau Valley. Beyond it lies nothing but rugged hills. Being further from the sea (30km) and at higher altitude (100m), nights are even cooler here than in other parts of the region. This slows down ripening, creating elegant  acidity and more intense flavours.

The soil at the vineyard consists of deep glacial outwash shingle deposits overlaid with finer alluvial or loess material, including lots of clay deeper down. The relatively infertile, free-draining soil is very much like that in Graves and Médoc in Bordeaux, as well as parts of the Rhône Valley.

The Wairau Valley, Marlborough climate is one of the sunniest and driest in New Zealand. A rare combination of long, dry summers, bright sun and cool, clear nights provides perfect conditions for growing ripe, intensely-flavoured fruit.

Winemaking at Herringbone is informed by three fundamental beliefs:

1. Great fruit is the first requirement to make great wine.
2. To make the best of what nature provides, there is a need to combine New World innovation and Old World experience.
3. Look after the land if you want the land to look after you.

In terms of viticulture, the vineyard is unusual for Marlborough because VSP (vertical shoot position) trellis system and close row planting is used, which are practices usually associated with Old World planting styles. High vine density results in each plant bearing fewer grapes of higher quality.

To create wines that experts have described as "three dimensional" and "immaculate", Herringbone combines time-honoured methods with proven concepts from cutting-edge viticultural science. The aim is to discover new expressions of classic Marlborough styles – accessible, elegant and food-friendly wines. Winemaker Jeff Clarke’s talent for consistently creating wines of outstanding quality is recognised internationally. Since 1993, he has played a key role in the development of New Zealand’s most successful wine styles.
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