Having established the vineyard in 2003–2005, Mt. Beautiful began making wine in tiny quantities in 2007. Since then the wine volume has steadily increased as the vineyard has matured. The new winery was built for the 2015 vintage and represents the next step in Mt. Beautiful’s evolution.
For consulting winemaker Sam Weaver, it’s a huge step forward to bring the ultimate level of control to the whole winemaking process back to the vineyard. “It’s been really exciting to have the flexibility and control to make snap decisions about picking different blocks of fruit and simply just taking them to the on-site winery,” he notes.
The winery’s current capacity is 400 tons with an expansion to 650 tons planned for vintage 2016. Mt. Beautiful has multiple fermenters in a variety of sizes, which allows all of the vineyard blocks to be fermented individually. This lets the winemakers understand what each site in the vineyard is capable of in terms of style and quality—an important process in a vineyard featuring 23 different soil types and several distinct microclimates.
Mt. Beautiful wines are not only different from most New Zealand wines by way of their North Canterbury location, but they are also different in style. The wine style captures the essence of New Zealand while embracing a more restrained approach, with harmony and balance. Mt. Beautiful produces Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot Noir wines that are the expression of this wild and rugged region, with aromatic and flavor profiles that let the pure terroir come through.