OUR VINEYARD

It’s a truism that great wines are made in the vineyard. Our north-south orientation means the vines enjoy plentiful light and warmth. Our location on an island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf means a long growing season, allowing red wine grapes in particular to reach their full potential.

We are devoted to producing small batch Bordeaux and Rhone style reds of the highest quality in limited quantities.

The original plantings, in 1998, were 3.7ha of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. In 2002, the then owners planted 1.8ha of syrah, merlot, malbec, chardonnay and pinot gris.

In 2013 we identified underperforming areas in the vineyard and replanted 0.9ha in new, high quality cabernet and syrah clones.

SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVES

Tantalus Vineyard comprises a selection of varieties and clones to spread the risk from bad weather events while increasing wine complexity due to slight changes in aspect and soil type.

Our philosophy ensures that high quality clones on low-cropping rootstocks yield on average, only 32 hectolitres (3200 litres) per hectare, enabling production of densely concentrated, complex wines.
Our vineyard and winery are fully sustainable. Our aim is, in every way, to reduce our impact on the environment and enhance biodiversity.

We’ve planted 3000m2 of wildflowers to increase biodiversity and the size of beneficial insect populations, such as parasitic wasps and ladybirds. They help control pests such as mealybugs and negate the use of pesticides. Without pesticides beneficial insects thrive, helping to eliminate pest species.

In addition, our non-pesticide policy keeps our beehives happy and healthy.

CHRIS WARD

VITICULTURALIST

Chris joined the Tantalus Estate team from the outset and his experience in the Onetangi Valley was crucial to the redevelopment of the vineyard. He came on board after 10 years as viticulturalist at our neighbouring globally respected winery Stonyridge.

Chris has a degree in international business and a post graduate diploma in wine science. His experience encompasses restaurants and hospitality in New Zealand. He spent eight years establishing and operating multiple businesses in Japan. Upon his return to New Zealand, together with his wife Kanae they established a tour company – Island Wine.

Chris is responsible for all vineyard and estate management, working seamlessly with Alex to create our distinctive Tantalus Estate wine style. A passionate advocate of biodiversity and sustainability, Chris played a key role in obtaining the Sustainable Vineyard and Winery accreditations for Tantalus Estate.

MATAI SUTHERLAND

VINEYARD FOREMAN

As a young boy, Matai loved planting edible gardens.  In High School his favourite subject was viticulture where students gained practical experience on our island vineyards. Turning his interest into a job became reality when he began working with Chris and Alex in 2014.  Matai was 17 years old, he didn’t drink wine or beer, but that was then and so much about his life has changed. His natural affinity with plants and love of working outdoors is key to successfully building his skills and confidence.  You’ve got to love tough physical work and never-ending tasks, endured under the hot sun or chilling wind.  His first vintage in 2014 introduced him to the long hours of early morning picks through to the midnight plunging of fermenting grapes. What they lack in sleep they make up for in humour and camaraderie.  When he’s not learning on the job, he’s watching YouTube documentaries about differing international viticultural practises and landscapes, or he’s out tasting wines.  At 21, Matai feels confident in his abilities to distinguish a broad array of wines and he’s learned a lot about beer too.  It’s remarkable to bear witness to this young man who credits his life and work at Tantalus as a real game changer – he’s turned his life around, gained a career and makes the whole lot of us proud in his achievements.

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY

Our winemaking philosophy is to make wines of great distinction standing proudly on the world stage.
Quality decisions begin in the vineyard with hand-selection of the best grape clusters row by row. Within 15 minutes of being harvested, the grapes reach the winery where they are weighed and sorted once more by hand. We use 10kg bins to avoid crushing and juicing.
Our hand-crafted blends are complex and interesting, concentrated and textural, destined to age, slowly evolving into elegant wines. Ripe fruit, balanced acidity, finely grained tannins and a judicious use of premium oak culminate in wines of great structure and length.
The grapes go through a slow controlled fermentation and maceration before being basket pressed and gently transferred to a range of French oak barriques. Unfined and lightly filtered, our finished wines are sealed under natural cork, allowing continuing evolution in the bottle.

WINE STYLES

BORDEAUX REDS

Bordeaux varieties comprise Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and the seldom seen Carménère.

Strict appellation controls in France necessitate two or more of these varieties to be blended together. Bordeaux blends are known for aromas and flavours such as cassis, blackberry, dark cherry, vanilla, black cherry, coffee bean, spice and liquorice. The wines are often concentrated, powerful, firm and tannic. Quality Bordeaux blends can appear to be austere in character in their youth and benefit from ageing.

RHONE-STYLE REDS

Our Northern Rhone style red is made from 100% Syrah. This variety is often blended together with viognier. Syrah produces deeply coloured and concentrated rich red wines with the ability to age and evolve for years, or even decades. Typical aromas and flavours include blackberries, plums, black cherries, flowers, spice, earth, chocolate, liquorice, blueberry, pepper and truffles. Many of these secondary qualities develop as the wine ages.

PINOT GRIS

New Zealand Pinot Gris has mouth-filling, rich and refreshing earthy stone pear and apple flavours. It’s now the third most popular white wine variety among local wine drinkers and with good reason. At its best, Pinot Gris can be an invigorating blend of ripe fruit flavours coupled with surprising backbone and length.

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY

Our winemaking philosophy is to make wines of great distinction standing proudly on the world stage.
Quality decisions begin in the vineyard with hand-selection of the best grape clusters row by row. Within 15 minutes of being harvested, the grapes reach the winery where they are weighed and sorted once more by hand. We use 10kg bins to avoid crushing and juicing.
Our hand-crafted blends are complex and interesting, concentrated and textural, destined to age, slowly evolving into elegant wines. Ripe fruit, balanced acidity, finely grained tannins and a judicious use of premium oak culminate in wines of great structure and length.
The grapes go through a slow controlled fermentation and maceration before being basket pressed and gently transferred to a range of French oak barriques. Unfined and lightly filtered, our finished wines are sealed under natural cork, allowing continuing evolution in the bottle.

WINE STYLES

BORDEAUX REDS

Bordeaux varieties comprise Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and the seldom seen Carménère.

Strict appellation controls in France necessitate two or more of these varieties to be blended together. Bordeaux blends are known for aromas and flavours such as cassis, blackberry, dark cherry, vanilla, black cherry, coffee bean, spice and liquorice. The wines are often concentrated, powerful, firm and tannic. Quality Bordeaux blends can appear to be austere in character in their youth and benefit from ageing.

RHONE-STYLE REDS

Our Northern Rhone style red is made from 100% Syrah. This variety is often blended together with viognier. Syrah produces deeply coloured and concentrated rich red wines with the ability to age and evolve for years, or even decades. Typical aromas and flavours include blackberries, plums, black cherries, flowers, spice, earth, chocolate, liquorice, blueberry, pepper and truffles. Many of these secondary qualities develop as the wine ages.

PINOT GRIS

New Zealand Pinot Gris has mouth-filling, rich and refreshing earthy stone pear and apple flavours. It’s now the third most popular white wine variety among local wine drinkers and with good reason. At its best, Pinot Gris can be an invigorating blend of ripe fruit flavours coupled with surprising backbone and length.

OUR WINERY

Our winery is fully accredited under the New Zealand Sustainable Winegrowing Programme. Accreditation is awarded to wineries demonstrating and continually striving to protect the environment while efficiently and economically producing premium wines.

We are part of the New Zealand Wine Standard Management Programme that ensures best winemaking practices and the health and safety of our staff, alongside the ability to trace our wines from vine to bottle.

All Tantalus wines are Export Certified, representing the very best New Zealand wines.

Elegance and subtlety characterise boutique wine production. Limited quantities of these high quality wines require fine adjustments, vital when pursuing excellence. Our task is to choreograph each component of production, involving water, sugars, aromatic esters, enzymes, yeast, bacteria, the weather and the people who help craft the wines.