- 100% Pinot Noir
Claire and Mike arrived in Marlborough in 1990 and started Huia in 1996.
Those early years were spent gaining valuable experience in wineries in Marlborough. Mike at Cloudy Bay and Vavasour whilst Claire was at Corbans and Lawson's Dry Hills. They also both did a vintage in Champagne at Veuve Cliquot and Taittinger respectively.
This gave them a great grounding in making bright New World wines, but also an appreciation of the sense of land, heritage and tradition from the Old World. This was also when they purchased the wonderful Home block in Rapaura. It took several years to get it cleared, build the house and get the first vines planted. At the same time two gorgeous daughters arrived - Tui and Sophie - and they have played a full part in the continuing journey (and the workforce!).
Claire and Mike chose the Huia name and bird as they felt it resonated clearly with themselves. It firmly associated with them with New Zealand and with the land that they are so proud to work.
The Huia was a legendary New Zealand bird. The Huia mated for life and the pair co-existed as a team in the dense canopy of the forests. It was always rare bird even before the arrival of Europeans, confined to the mountain ranges in the south east of the North Island.
It is unique, as it is the only bird in the world where the bills of the male and female are different in shape and size. This unique feature along with the bird's beautiful plumage made it highly prized by international collectors and the Maori, where wearing feathers is an honour.
The bird became extinct in 1907, however there are unconfirmed reports of the birdsong in the isolated bush upto 30 years ago.
Claire and Mike are strong believers in a natural approach to winemaking. They have endeavoured to become more and more in tune with the environment around them. Working in harmony with, and giving something back to, the countryside that helps them make their wine.
Claire and Mike have embarked on an organic journey, which has resulted in them following and committing to an organic approach and vision. They have taken this further by embracing the bio-dynamic world to complete their journey of working in partnership with the countryside around them.
So not only are the vineyards free of chemicals and reliant on natural practices, but we have cows wandering through the vines, wild flowers growing at their roots and if you are sharp eyed you might catch sight of a gnome or two...
After years of environmental focus the first wines to be certified organic will start with the 2011 vintage. The goal of all wines being fully certified organic is just a stone throw away.