Located beneath the magnificent Pisa Range 10km north of Cromwell in the heart of Central Otago, Kawarau Estate was established in 1992 by Charles Finny and Wendy Hinton who own and operate the company.
Guided by its first viticulturalist and winemaker, the late Mike Wolter, we achieved full Biogro organic certification before our first vintage and now have 15 hectares of vines with expansion planned. Pronounced ‘ka-wah-row’, our name is taken from the gorge and river of the same name which is synonymous with Central Otago’s gold mining history – reflected in the depiction of local mining identities on our labels.
As the pioneer vineyard in the Pisa Flats / Lowburn sub-region we are producing from the oldest vines in the area. From the outset, through a blend of innovative viticultural practices and traditional winemaking, we have produced distinctive single vineyard, having been rated a gold medal wine for 7 consecutive vintages.
As a region, Central Otago’s climate is more continental than the generally temperate weather of New Zealand. Cold winters and hot summers are the norm but of greatest benefit is the autumn temperature shift from daytime high to nighttime low – ideal for ripening the fruit and perfect for Pinot Noir. This is complemented by low humidity and rainfall, keeping pest and disease pressure at a minimum – our own micro-climate rarely gets more than 250mm of rainfall a year!
Our soils are Waenga loam of consistent depth atop river gravels formed by glacial action. Relatively young by global standards Central Otago soil is mineral rich but low in organic matter – hence the need for organic practices to increase the plant available nutrients and biodiversity of the vineyard.
Our fine wines are made by Dean Shaw at the Central Otago Wine Company. A self-proclaimed minimal interventionist winemaker, he shares our philosophy of crafting single vineyard wines that express the emerging terroir.
All our fine organic wines are available at our online shop. Join us and enjoy regular news and offers in the wine club.