Philip Jones and Sheryl Jones have been interested in wine for most of their lives. They planted their first vineyards in 1989 and produced the first vintage in 1994. After searching throughout California for a site that would grow cool climate grapes and provide the quality of life they were looking for they decided to settle in New Zealand. The quiet easy going lifestyle and the young wine industry were very appealing.
After investigating Viticulture areas throughout New Zealand it was decided to establish vineyards and a winery in the Upper Moutere hills close to Nelson. The first wines sold in 1994 were quickly recognized as some of New Zealand's best wines.
Over the years additional vineyards were planted and brands added. Goose Bay wines were developed for the kosher market throughout the world. Spencer Hill was the first and is the larest producer of kosher wines in New Zealand. The highly successful Latitude 41 range is a blend of Nelson and Marlborough grapes resulting in a wine that offers the best of both areas. We figured out quickly that nether region was better, just different, so why not try a blend! Tasman Bay continues to deliver tremendous value and Spencer Hill wines are some of the best produced in New Zealand.
Our approach to this whole business of winemaking is rather simple. We go about our business and let the challenges be our reward. Occasionally, people complement our wines and our service...which means a lot. We don't believe in building a winery business by constantly talking about how great you are. We entered the business because we enjoy the life...the viticulture, the winemaking, the marketing and the people we work with and meet. We also enjoy doing unusual and challenging things...such as kosher wines and cider. We enjoy doing all these things and if we can make the world a little more fun... then so be it.
We do get involved in "trends" such as biodynamic farming and natual wines. We find these amusing and entertaining, the equivalent of the Medicine Show of the past. We believe in making the best wiine possible and leave these mystical beliefs and short lived trends to others.
Innovation in the winery is no stranger to Spencer Hill. We were the first in New Zealand to use synthetic corks and then Diam corks and Zork closures in our entire range. We still consider Diam the best closures available. We use screw caps only when requested as we consider them limiting in allowing our wines to age in the manner we expect. We were also the first to use native yeasts for our entire range of red wines.
Viticulture innovation saw Spencer Hill introducing Pinot Gris, Viognier and Tempranillo to the Nelson area, which is now developing a reputation for its aromatic wines. We introduced the use of steel posts to the Nelson area thus reducing the effects on the environment from treated wood posts. In site selection, our Coastal Ridge vineyards are the only ones planted in that part of Tasman Bay. The wines made from this vineyard are exceptional.
SUSTAINABLILITY & INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT.
Our philosophy of sustainable viticulture is to grow our grapes with a soft approach, using Integrated Pest Management and striving to reduce man's input. It is an approach that requires well trained individuals to carefully monitor the vines. To enhance the biodiversity we have planted many trees and shrubs in areas around the vineyards. We have also established many ponds on the properties. These strategies allow wildlife and beneficials to thrive. All of our vineyards are grown without irrigation, providing powerful fruit flavours and saving valuble water resources.
In the winery we use bio degradable chemicals for cleaning and have a catchment pond for waste water. Electrical use is minimised by constantly reviewing equipment requirements. For example, the use of floatation equipment, rather than filtering saves time, power and reduces waste. Our own label printing and bottling line improves customer service by quick, efficient bottling on demand. We strive to save money and resources where ever possible.