Situated in the Waipara area of North Canterbury, New Zealand, Muddy Water is a direct translation from the Maori place name - wai (water) para (sediment, mud).
Just as our name reflects the place, our wines reflect our vineyards. Our vineyards are situated on sunny slopes above the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury, on the South Island of New Zealand. Protected from cool sea breezes by a range of coastal hills, the Waipara area has a climate distinct from the rest of Canterbury.
Cold, frosty winters, warm dry summers and dry sunny autumns provide intensely flavoured ripe grapes. Our soils are loam over calcareous clay on limestone bedrock, ideal for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, mirroring the Burgundian soils that are the natural home of these great varieties. We grow Pinot Noir, Pinotage, Syrah, Riesling and Chardonnay.
Muddy Water is the dream of owners Michael and Jane East, who purchased the property in 1993. The first wines were produced in 1997. Our winemaker, Belinda Gould, and vineyard manager Gwyn Williams are both dedicated to the production of unique, hand-crafted wines. All canopy and crop management is done by hand with meticulous attention to detail. Each vine is treated as an individual, resulting in balanced vines, and reflected in balanced wines.
Vineyard Manager, Miranda Brown has been leading the changes in grape growing and wine production methods, enabling Muddy Water to become Certified Full Organic.
“Since 2007, there have been a few significant and noticeable changes to the way we do things at Muddy Water, and a number of less noticeable ones,” says Miranda.
“Going through this process has definitely made me a better viticulturist, as I need to spend more time managing the vines, anticipating potential issues and proactively taking steps to deal to issues early.”
A key change is that weeds are controlled by cultivating under the vine instead of herbicide use. Many of the persistent weeds that can cause problems have disappeared, replaced with non-competing species such as clover and plantain.
Another big shift is in the way pests are controlled – by planting flowers such as buckwheat and phacelia, wasps and hoverflies are attracted that attack the pest species. Diseases are controlled with sulphur, seaweed, compost teas and biological fungicides such as Trichoderma sp.
The organic practices of the vineyard follow on into the winery with the use of wild yeasts, no additions to the wines and unfiltered bottling whenever possible.
“Waipara has the ideal climate for organic wine production – with its long hot summers and dry autumns. We hope a number of other wineries in the region follow our lead and help make Waipara famous for producing top quality organic wines,” says Miranda.
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