We call our philosophy “Amano”, meaning by hand: At every stage we handcraft our wines to be world class, whilst treading lightly in our environment. From planting to pruning and picking our vines by hand, we have come to know every inch of our vineyard. It is here that our winemaking truly begins. The interaction of each vine with the soil, the wind, and an east facing aspect towards the gentle morning sun form nuances of structure and flavor which make each parcel of grapes unique. Nurturing each parcel of grapes and wine individually, we never shy away from the small yet extra efforts of being hands-on which ultimately yield extraordinary results, giving credence to our “Amano” approach.
A vineyard that begins from scratch demands a holistic vision. At the outset, we analyzed the soil carefully to select the varieties to be planted, being mindful of the intricate tapestry of soil variations underfoot. Unconstrained by tradition, we adopted a north-north-west to south-south-east orientation, so that the vines can benefit from direct exposure to the gentler, morning sun and indirect exposure to the stronger, afternoon sun.
At every stage of the process sustainability is at the forefront of our minds, and we try to minimize our impact on the soil, air and water whilst encouraging biodiversity. When required, we use modern technology to enable us to get the best understanding of the vines’ development and make precise decisions about when to irrigate.
Knowing our vineyard inch by inch, hands-on information and human judgement are the things that help us achieve our goal of grapes with intense aromas, balance, maturity and good acidity. The vines are pruned and picked entirely by hand, as befits an “Amano” approach.
We have a meticulous four-step selection process for all grapes, hands-on at every step, representing the ultimate standard in grape selection. When picking, we select only the best bunches from the vine and further remove leaves by hand from each small tray of fruit, at the end of each row. Then, in the winery, 2 sorting trays, one before the destemmer for cluster selection and one after for selection berry by berry. These final 2 steps are meticulously overseen by eleven people, who allow only pristine grapes to continue through to fermentation.
Our state-of-the-art winery design works using gravity, allowing us to handle our grapes extremely gently after the selection process. Vinification takes place in small, wide tanks. This allows us to keep small parcels separate during the alcoholic fermentation and for greater contact between the fermenting juice and skins which ensures more intense colour in the final wines. All of our fruit is basket-pressed. This is a gentle pressing technique ensures protection of fine tannins. Malo-lactic fermentation in barrel gives our wines integrated tannins and greater colour stability, complexity and texture.
Our barrels are made exclusively from fine-grained French oak, from several different coopers to increase complexity. We prefer to use ozone to clean the barrels whenever possible, not only does this have an environmental benefit (releasing ozone instead of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere) but we also find that it helps keep the barrels impeccably clean. For all our sophisticated equipment, there’s not even a hint of “remote control” management. Winemaking for us is all about being hands-on and the intimate knowledge that comes only from constant tasting and interaction with our wines.