“Creating wine that’s truly vibrant and authentic”
We are Peter and Jane Clark and this is our story of how we changed careers, bought some land in Marlborough and set about building a new life in the Awatere Valley.
“Respectfully, our wine is created in partnership with nature. The part we play is to connect, understand, envision and make possible the potential each harvest brings.”
-Peter Clark, Founder
It hasn’t been easy at times but we are proud of the success of our wines, our family and ourselves enduring the adventure over the last 20 years.
– Peter and Jane Clark
After long careers as soldier and nurse, we bought a sheep paddock by the Black Birch Stream in the Awatere Valley and established 20 acres of Sauvignon Blanc from scratch.
1999 to 2002 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!
Dark clouds and a silver lining
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 operating a vineyard, we faced the possibility of giving up. However, the story took a different turn and hopes of realising our dream were renewed. In 2003 our son Simon joined the team after completing his BVO and working vintages in Australia, Germany and New Zealand.
A busy time
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.
Pinot Gris and Riesling!
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.
The family team grows
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.
The Clark Estate label is born
We convert our entire crop into our own wine label. With 12,000 cases and a global recession we had to get better at selling fast. 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.
Simon takes the reigns as Head Winemaker
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.
2011 to 2014 The Gold Continues
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.
A New Identity
Our success continues…
Our very first Pinot Noir Rosé wins a trophy for champion Rosé at the 2017 Romeo Bragato wine awards.
We build our new cellar door
We decided to convert a shipping container into a cellar door. It’s cosy and boutique and as a family, we try and be there in person as much as we can.
Our markets grow overseas…
Our passion for making great wine, remaining a small independent family wine business, and the continued success of our wines on a global stage drives interest from major markets around the world.