Our Story - Clark Estate
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1998 – The beginning

After long careers as soldier and nurse, Peter & Jane buy a few sheep paddocks by the Black Birch Stream in the Awatere Valley and establish 20 acres of Sauvignon Blanc, from scratch.

1999 to 2002 – Early days

They set about learning how to manage a vineyard. To help fund the venture Peter would often be working in Wellington during the week leaving Jane to train the 22,000 new vines on her own. They would work together all weekend spending the night in their old caravan.

2003 – Dark clouds and a silver lining

After two modest harvests the new crop was completely destroyed by a late spring frost with no grape income for another 18 months and more travel for Peter. Facing the reality of the hardship in operating a vineyard we faced the possibility of giving up. However, the story took a different turn and the hope of realizing our dream was renewed. In 2003 our son Simon Clark joined the team after completing his BVO and working vintages in Australia, Germany and New Zealand.

2003 to 2004 –  A busy time

We relocated an old villa from Blenheim to the vineyard and achieved Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand accreditation.

2005 – Moving in

We move into our villa and make the winery our home.

2006 – No more frost!

We install two ‘wind machines’ for frost protection and to begin expanding the vineyard to its current size: 10 ha (25 acres) Sauvignon Blanc, 2 ha (5 acres) Pinot Gris and almost 1ha (2 acres) Riesling.

2007 – The family team grows

 

Sarah joined us in the sales and marketing role. Her sister Jen also helps with wine dispatch.

2008 – The Clark Estate label is born.

We convert our entire crop into our own wine. With 12,000 cases and a global recession we had to get better at selling. By early 2009 the gamble paid off with major new export customers in the USA and Australia and a growth in sales in New Zealand.

2010 – Simon takes the reigns as Head Winemaker

We win our first Gold medal with the 2010 Clark Estate Sauvignon Blanc

2011 to 2014 – The Gold Continues

The success of the 2010 wines is consolidated when we pick up the Trophy for best Riesling at the Royal Easter Wine Show for our 2011 Clark Estate Riesling.  We continue to win gold with our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc & 2014 Sauvignon Blanc.

2015 – A New Identity