New Zealand

Saint Clair Family Estates

#2 Top ‘Wineries for Value’ 2012: New Zealand - Wine Spectator

Neal & Judy in Vineyard LGE“Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc. Saint Clair has won more top awards for Sauvignon Blanc in recent years than any of the three or four hundred other local producers.” - Bob Campbell, Master of Wine

Saint Clair Family Estate is owned by Neal and Judy Ibbotson, viticulture pioneers in Marlborough since 1978. Grapes were originally supplied to local wine companies; however a desire to extend the quality achieved in the vineyard through to the finished wine led to the establishment of Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994.

The Saint Clair name originates from the vineyard property, first settled by the Sinclair family. Pioneer James Sinclair built one of the first homes in Blenheim and was closely associated with the early development of the town. Over time the name of the property reverted to the original Saint Clair.

 

See the Wines...

Their Story
Saint Clair Family Estate is owned by Neal and Judy Ibbotson, viticulture pioneers in Marlborough since 1978. Grapes were originally supplied to local wine companies; however a desire to extend the quality achieved in the vineyard through to the finished wine led to the establishment of Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994.

The Saint Clair name originates from the vineyard property, first settled by the Sinclair family. Pioneer James Sinclair built one of the first homes in Blenheim and was closely associated with the early development of the town. Over time the name of the property reverted to the original Saint Clair.

The company’s mission is to create world-class wines that exceed their customers’ every expectation. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive viticultural expertise plus Marlborough’s mix of climate and soils with the talent of one of New Zealand’s leading winemaking teams, led by Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark.

From 1994 when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. Top International accolades include the trophy to Matt Thomson of Saint Clair for White Winemaker of the Year at the London International Wine Challenge in September 2008, and the coveted trophy for Best New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year at the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2005. Saint Clair Family Estate also has the distinction of being the first New Zealand wine company to win major international trophies for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in the same year.

Family Estate
Saint Clair Family Estate was founded by Neal and Judy Ibbotson and the next generation is also involved.  Son Tony is responsible for the design of all Saint Clair’s packaging, promotional material and advertising. He owns a design consultancy business, the Creative Method, in Sydney. Tony designed the original Saint Clair labels back in 1994, when he was a student. He has been refining and expanding the range of Saint Clair labels ever since. Daughters Sarina and Julie both work within the business in sales and marketing after studying wine business marketing at Adelaide.

 

Vineyards & Viticulture
A wide choice in Marlborough Vineyard sites.

Awatere Vineyard

Awatere Vineyard

Saint Clair has developed six vineyards in different sites in Marlborough, including the Rapaura, Awatere, Waihopai and Omaka Valleys. This allows Saint Clair to specialize its plantings by grape variety in the sub-regions that provide the most suitable terroir for each. Only superior fruit from the best locations for each individual variety is selected for the Saint Clair label.

In 2001 Saint Clair introduced a ‘grading system’ for all its vineyards’ different wine batches and marks them out of 10 for quality each year. This provides valuable information with records now over a period of time showing which vineyards provide the best fruit and which varieties produce the best quality in each of the vineyards. The grading system is also used extensively as a management tool for identifying and improving best vineyard practices, and for payments to growers.

Other factors contributing to wine quality include a sustainable approach with minimal use of vineyard sprays, open canopy with good light and airflow, leaf plucking, fruit and shoot thinning and selection with no cultivation. After harvest the fruit is moved rapidly from vine, to press, to tank and barrel, to preserve fruit quality and character.

Winery
Saint Clair’s ‘state of the art’ winery is situated equal distance between Saint Clair’s Awatere Valley Vineyard and Wairau Valley Vineyards.

Architect Neal Charles Jones and Saint Clair’s Chief Winemaker, Matt Thomson, combined their extensive experience to design the winery.  Built for production from the 2006 harvest, the winery is capable of crushing 400 tonnes of fruit per day. It features state of the art equipment including high-tech refrigeration control and monitoring software to further enhance the quality of these award-winning wines.

The Riverland’s Estate location was chosen as an ideal position for the new winery due to its central location and proximity to Saint Clair’s main vineyards. The site has adjoining facilities for bottling, storage and dispatch.

The winery boasts a large temperature controlled barrel hall for storage of up to 850 oak barriques.

The Saint Clair Family Estate winery is extremely functional and continues to be developed to meet the specific needs for Saint Clair’s quality wine production.

The Next Generation of Saint Clair Family Estate

vineyard-locations

 

 

 

Marlborough Estate Reserve

“A terrific example of classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc loaded with aromas of ripe grapefruit, gooseberry and zingy passionfruit. Luscious and gently textured with flavours of attractive snowpea, capsicum and blackcurrant, with hints of lime and a slight mineral note. Grapes for this wine were carefully harvested when they reached their optimum ripeness. They were pressed off their skins quickly with minimum contact so as to preserve fresh flavours.” - Raymond Chan, Raymond Chan Wine Reviews

See the Wines...