Craggy Range was founded in 1997 when Terry Peabody and Steve Smith MW set about seeking out and buying the best vineyard sites in New Zealand.
They planted them with vines best suited to each terroir with the ambition to produce single vineyard wines that would compete with the best in the world. It is this simple philosophy that drives the entire system of farming and winemaking at Craggy Range.
The wine team is headed by Steve Smith MW in his role as Director of Wine and Viticulture. Matt Stafford is Chief winemaker and oversees all Craggy Range's winemaking.
Craggy Range's vineyard areas
Gimblett Gravels : Craggy Range has 100 hectares of vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay. The stony soils of this former quarry are located on the same latitude as Madrid, protected from the cooling breeze of the South Pacific to create a warm and dry environment which is the on a par with climate of Bordeaux and Northern Rhône. It is here that Craggy Range grow Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah grapes.
Martinborough, Marlborough and Nelson : Craggy Range has vineyards in the famous 'warm-cool' regions of Martinborough, Marlborough and Nelson. In Martinborough on the north island Craggy Range has a spectacular vineyard in Te Muna which is home to the majority of its Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc vines. In the South Island the best Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling grapes are produced in Marlborough and Nelson.
Cool Climate – Central Otago and Waitaki Valley
Craggy Range has a small Pinot Noir parcel in Bannockburn, Central Otago. In the new cool climate region of Waitaki Valley Craggy Range are growing Pinot Gris vines on limestone rich alluvial soils.
Vineyards and Winemaking
Although technology is an integral part of farming, it isn't in charge. The vines are managed in balance with their environment in a system of sustainable ecological viticulture. Pruning, removal of excess shoots and foliage, thinning and arranging developing shoots into supporting wires are all done by hand.
This sense of the natural order weaves a strand through Craggy Range. The winemaking style encourages texture, complexity, character and above all balance.
Vineyards : Craggy Range work with vineyards across New Zealand, every Craggy Range wine is made from a single vineyard, and each single vineyard is split into as many as 60 different parcels for reasons such differences in soil type, different viticultural techniques, different winemaking techniques or use of a different barrel types. All can affect the finished wine so are kept to retain the unique characteristics of each.
Winemaking :Craggy Range make their wines in two wineries, both located in Hawkes Bay. The stunning Giants winery in the shadow of the Te Mata Peak is where the flagship Merlot based wine Sophia is made using French oak cuves.
The Pinot Noirs, Syrahs, Sauvignons, Chardonnays and Rieslings are made at the Highway 50 winery. Here 100 different fermentation vessels mean the many different parcels to be fermented and matured separately allowing great flexibility to make lots as small as 100 cases.
Only French oak from the Troncais, Allier and Vosges forests are used at Craggy Range.
Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2016Once known as the "Block 14" Syrah, the Gimblett Gravels Syrah is now a blend of different parcels combined to create a wine that is truly distinct and appealing.
Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2016