Unison Vineyard, Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay
Unison Vineyard stands for:
- •Combination of "Old World" and "New World" philosophies - hence "Heritage and the Fine Hand" on the label
- •Total control, from the vineyard to the finished wine
- •Passion for quality - dedicated to the connoisseur
Unison Vineyard is a Family Estate, established in 1993 at the heart of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District in Hawkes Bay. The six hectares of vineyard are planted to merlot, syrah and cabernet sauvignon. Great attention to detail is paid in the vineyard - high vine planting density and deliberate low yields per vine enable the growing of consistent, fully-ripened and healthy grapes every year. Great importance is placed on doing all the critical work in the vineyards themselves, to make sure the high quality level in the vineyard is maintained. Due to extensive hand labour and attention to detail with canopy management a significant reduction in the use of vineyard sprays has been achieved.
Due to the consistency in producing high-quality wines, Unison Vineyard has been rated by Jancis Robinson (Concise Wine Companion) as one of 28 up-and-coming producers world wide “... whose success seems most obvious to me at the beginning of the 21st century ...” – the only winery in NZ which has received this accolade. Unison Vineyard is run by husband and wife team Philip and Terry Horn.
Also on the team is Jenny Dobson as Consultant Winemaker – a position she has held since the winery was founded. Jenny is responsible for the quality and direction of the wines. She started her long association with fine wines working at Domaine Dujac in Burgundy from 1979 to 1981. She then worked with Stephen Spurrier at his L’Academie du Vin in Paris in 1981 and 1982. Jenny spent the next 12 years in Bordeaux as Maitre de Chais at Chateau Senejac, a Cru Bourgeois in the Haut Medoc. From 1995 Jenny worked at Frankland Estate in the Great Southern region of Western Australia before returning to New Zealand. She joined Te Awa Farm on the Gimblett Gravels as Winemaker in 1998 and continued working there until 2008.
The founders of the vineyard had worked in Tuscany for many years prior to establishing their own estate in Hawke's Bay. They were keen to find an area with "poor soil" that is found in the best wine growing regions in the world. They were one of the first to risk their entire livelihood in this area of "poor soil". They decided to establish themselves in the as yet "undesignated" area of what today is known as the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District in Hawke's Bay.
Hawke's Bay was already a leading winegrowing district in New Zealand, but the 800 hectares pocket of this particular free-draining gravel soil (Gimblett Gravels) was still largely unused wasteland.
Since taking ownership of Unison Vineyard in February 2008, Philip and Terry Horn have consolidated the business and continued the succession of superb wines that come from the special 6 ha site from the heart of the Gimblett Gravels.