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Another winning wine for Wrights

Wrights Vineyard and Winery has taken out gold again at the Aotearoa New Zealand Organic Wine Awards, along with a host of other awards.

Wrights Reserve Chardonnay 2018 was once again awarded gold in the 2021 competition.

Competition awards curator Luke Thomas said over 45 wineries entered with more than 200 wines submitted.

“Wrights Vineyard and Winery Gisborne Reserve Chardonnay 2018 was a stand-out in the chardonnay varietal class.

“Gisborne chardonnays are a consistently high performing wine at the New Zealand Organic Wine Awards,” Mr Thomas said.

Since the 2018 New Zealand Organic Wine Awards every release of Wrights Reserve Chardonnay has been awarded gold.

Wrights owner Geoff Wright said it takes a lot of hard work, but it is a beautiful wine.

“It's a lovely acidity-rich style with pineapple and tropical flavours. It's not a fully butter styled chardonnay, but it does have a little bit of that.

They turn the lees — or natural sediment — in the winemaking process, which gives the chardonnay a great depth of flavour, richness and oiliness, he said.

“This is a timely accolade for our wines. With the International Chardonnay Day approaching on May 27, New Zealanders should be enjoying wines from the chardonnay capital.”

Mr Wright said winemaking transforms grapes into wine, but the work first starts in the field.

Viticulturist Patrick Ferry said they were continually trying new things to get the best from their vines.

“We're growing fava beans as an inter-row crop, so the root system breaks up soil compaction, which helps soil health. It also works as a nitrogen fixer, and eventually, it will become a green manure crop as a mulch under the vines to aid with nutrition.

“If you can focus on the growth and get that done well and get them producing to a high quality, then we bring them to the winery and let the wine express itself,” Mr Ferry said.

The winning chardonnay comes from the only vineyard in Ormond Valley, which Mr Wright says is known as the grand cru of chardonnay in Gisborne because it is in a valley with limestone hills.

The valley gives the vines hot days and cool evenings.

Patrick Ferry said dealing with the weather made winemaking a predictably unpredictable business, and the goal was to manage that.

“It's combating the weather, so for us, that means looking at ways we can aid the vines as they get older and older to keep producing to perfection.”

Winemaker Lawrence Jiang agreed.

“You need a plan A, B and C for every condition,” Mr Jiang said.

Alongside the Wrights brand is Natural Wine Co which also took out silver for their pinot rose and sparkling wine, and a bronze for pinot gris.

ANOTHER ONE IN THE BAG: Viticulturist Patrick Ferry, winemaker Lawrence Jiang and owner Geoff Wright holding bottles of their gold medal winning wine. Picture by Liam Clayton