Located just south of Seddon, our Ward Valley vineyard is sits at the southern frontier of Marlborough, making it a special place within a special place. The vineyard’s combination of high altitude, dry air, temperature extremes and deep clay creates a marginal climate and terroir that produces wines of rare complexity.
The 20 h.a. Ward Valley Estate vineyard was purchased in 2008 as bare pasture land by James Leary and Freddy Davison (a 4th generation South Islander). Freddy had searched for the perfect vineyard site around his home in the lower Awatere Valley and found a unique terroir in Ward. The vineyard site was chosen as the soil structure is mainly clay based, with hard papa subsoil, gravels and clay loam. These denser, water retentive clay soils, combined with a cooler climate than the northern end of Marlborough made the site perfectly suited to growing Pinot Noir. The long dry summer in Ward reduces pest and disease pressure while the hot 30 degrees + days and cool nights allow balance in ripening process.
Since buying the picturesque elevated site James and Freddy have worked tirelessly with their viticulture team to extensively develop the vineyard into what it is today, with just over 10 h.a. under vines and producing some of the best Pinot Noir fruit in Marlborough.
2009 - 3 h.a planted on the Mt Victoria Block & 2 h.a on the Coastal Block. A variety of Pinot Noir clones were used and extensive earthworks undertaken to create the dam on the northern side of the Mt Victoria Block.
2010 - 1.5 h.a of Pinot Noir planted to complete the Mt Victoria Block.
2017 - Program of replanting to fill gaps in middle section of the vineyard.
2018 - The last 3 h.a of undeveloped land on the vineyard were planted out, mainly on the Coastal Block, but also saw the creation of a new block on the headland in front of the dam, appropriately called the Dam Block. A mixture of Pinot Noir clones and the first Chardonnay vines were planted.
Mt Victoria Block
Nestled amongst the foothills of Mt Victoria, it seemed natural to name our best rows after the hill that surrounds us. At 130 meters above sea level with a cool micro climate, elevation and deep clay soils, this unique block provides ideal conditions for premium Pinot Noir.
Rows 1-20: Able Clone (Pinot Noir)
Rows 21-36: Clone 5 (Pinot Noir)
Rows 37-71: Clone 667 (Pinot Noir)
Rows 72 - 84: Able Clone (Pinot Noir)
Rows 85-89: Clone 115 (Pinot Noir)
Rows 90-94: Clone 777 (Pinot Noir)
So called because of it aspect toward the coast, the Coastal Block has been the workhorse of the vineyard producing exceptional Pinot Noir fruit year after year that gets primarily used for our Rosé program.
Rows 95 - 108: Clone 667 (Pinot Noir)
Rows 109 - 137: Able Clone (Pinot Noir)
Rows 138 - 146: Cone 115 (Pinot Noir)
Rows 147 - 155: Cone 777 (Pinot Noir)
Rows 156 - 174: UDC 15 (Chardonnay)
Rows 175 -184: V95 (Chardonnay)
High density planting was used on this block to reduce yield per vine and to encourage deep and rapid root penetration to make the most of the site’s unique terroir and soil type.
Rows 185 - 203: Able Clone (Pinot Noir)