Wine success family affair for golden couple

By Roger Moroney

1 comment
Winemakers Amelia and Barry Riwai both picked up gold for their respective wineries. Photo/Glen Taylor
Winemakers Amelia and Barry Riwai both picked up gold for their respective wineries. Photo/Glen Taylor

When it comes to wine talk there is plenty of it in the Riwai household - given Barry Riwai is a winemaker at Clearview and Amelia Riwai has been a winemaker with Abbey Cellars in the Bridge Pa "triangle" since 2011.

So there was plenty to talk in the wake of the recent Easter Show Wine Awards staged in Auckland where Clearview Estate picked up a gold medal with their 2012 Reserve Chardonnay.

"Barry was pretty happy about that, and so was I," Mrs Riwai said - adding that her efforts with Abbey Cellars had also been recognised with a slice of gold.

From the "very good" vintage of 2013 Abbey Cellars' Hawke's Bay Riesling grabbed the attention of the judges. So two golds, from two wineries, under one Napier roof.

Mrs Riwai said it was the second award the 2013 riesling had picked up after taking a silver medal at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards late last year.

As it was relatively new in the bottle at that stage she said it was highly likely, as it will have aged further, that they will enter it again in this year's awards and look for even higher honours.

Starting out in her winemaking role with Abbey Cellars in 2011 had been challenging, she said, given that it was not a flash vintage season weatherwise.

"Yeah, we thought that was pretty tough but then 2012 came along," she said with a laugh.

The 2012 vintage was accepted across the industry as an even more difficult one. Most of Abbey Cellars' grapes that year went into sweet wines, although some early grapes went into a table riesling. The much acclaimed 2013 vintage went into the table riesling.

Of the 2014 vintage, she said it was looking "very, very good".

"We are very happy with how it is going and we are looking to start picking chardonnay and riesling later this week."

Like many wineries and vineyards there was plenty of late season planning going on in terms of harvesting as rain, with potentially heavy falls, is forecast for the weekend with showers lasting until the middle of next week as a tropical low creeps toward the country.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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