After long careers as soldier and nurse, we bought a sheep paddock by the Black Birch Stream in the Awatere Valley and establish 20 acres of Sauvignon Blanc, from scratch.
We then 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. We would work together all weekend spending the night in our old caravan. The rugged life!
After two modest harvests the 2003 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.
We relocated an old villa from Blenheim to the vineyard and achieved Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand accreditation.
After 4 years of renovating, we finally move into our villa and make the vineyard our home.
We install fans for frost protection and 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.
Our eldest daughter, Sarah joins us in the sales and marketing role. One of her main jobs was to organise all the freight and logistics of our, then, very small wine business.
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.
We win our first major award! Elite Gold medal for our 2010 Clark Estate Sauvignon Blanc at the Air NZ Wine Awards. This was such a massive achievement for the whole family, after all the hard work and tough years.
The success of the 2010 wines was consolidated when we picked up the Trophy for best Riesling at the Royal Easter Wine Show for our 2011 Clark Estate Riesling. We also continued to win gold with our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc & 2014 Sauvignon Blanc.
Our very first Pinot Noir Rose wins a trophy for champion Rose at the 2017 Romeo Bragato wine awards.
We decided to convert a shipping container into a cellar door. Its cosy and boutique and as a family, we try and be there in person as much as we can.
The love of our passion and story along with the success of our wines, helps to grow interest in all the major markets around the world.