Our wine list is constantly evolving as we source new wines to tempt our guests. We have recently added two new sections to our list these are “Selected Winery” and “Wines which give back”. In the selected winery section we take a closer look at the wineries and tell you how they go about making their wines which have made it onto our list. In the “wines which give back” section we focus on wines that either give back to the environment or give back by donating to charity. Please have a look at the list next time you are at the hotel and let us know what you think.
This week we are taking a closer look at the Urlar winery, which we have featured in the wines which give back section of our wine list.
Proudly family owned, New Zealand, Urlar Estate produces outstanding single vineyard wines
Angus Thompson the owner of Urlar has said “our philosophy is really very simple to produce the best wine possible with the least impact to us and the environment”.
The practices they use are about giving life back to the soil and managing the vineyard as a balanced sustainable farming unit. This includes organic practices such as recycling through composts and liquid manures and increasing plant bio diversity through inter-row crops. Every year, one row in seven will be sowed with a variety of plants and beneficial flowers. Flowers, such as buckwheat provide crucial protection to the vineyard by attracting beneficial insects that will kill off unwanted pests that can destroy the fruit and vines. They use the biodynamic farming and gardening calendar, the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets and stars are recognised and worked where possible.
A lot more is done in the winery, such as the use of solar power. The solar panels are so effective; they heat water to boiling point greatly reducing the use of gas and electricity for water heating. The boiling water also enables the winery to remove impurities from the tanks thereby limiting the use of chemicals. Considerations taken into account when designing he winery included reducing the energy used to keep the barrels cool over the summer, also natural habitats for a variety of birds has been created through careful landscaping. For all their commitment they where rewarded with the Hills Harvest and Gallagher innovation award.
Urlar produce five wines, three of which, are exported to the UK. At a recent private tasting with Angus, we tasted the three wines available in the UK. A Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and a Pinot Noir. All great wines but the one which stood out was the Pinot Gris, so much so that it has been included it in the wine by the glass selection of our list.
The other wines they produce are a Riesling and a noble Riesling. We asked Angus why the Riesling is not exported, he said that at present only a small production was made however this may increase as long as the quality of the wine it not affected.
Planned for the next few weeks is a trip to South Africa to visit some of the wineries as well as some adventurous activities such as abseiling down Table Mountain and diving with sharks. As long as the sharks don’t think I too tasty I’ll share with you my experiences on my return. For the time being please see our website for information on wine and the WinePress restaurant.