Hillersden Vineyard, est. 2008, has joined the wine world at a time where the boundaries of modern agriculture are constantly being pushed as worldwide consumers demand higher volumes from New Zealand wine growers. Hillersden, born in this era of volume wine sales, is choosing to find its own voice in the conversation pioneering the first family single estate wines from the Upper Wairau Valley, a young sub-appellation on the edge of the Marlborough region.
Grown and harvested in Hillersden, an abandoned settlers’ township in the Upper Wairau Valley, now the off-the-grid home of New Zealand’s most exciting wine development.
Hillersden may be considered one of the younger vineyards of the New World but is strategically positioned with some of the most mature vines of the Upper Wairau Valley, an area with largely untapped potential. We are part of a future where sustainability is a practice engineered to create just the right conditions for the vine to thrive so they might produce the best quality fruit for wine making; encouraging the natural resilience and characteristics of a plant that has been the soul of wine making and central to millennia of human culture.
Vines are planted over three terraces, each with its own unique soil structure and undulation telling the history of the Wairau riverbed as it shifted over centuries. Our alluvial soils vary anywhere from rich clay to free draining stony soils, this variation over our some 140h is where the magic happens in wine making.
Planting began in 2008 and continues each year as we grow in our appreciation and understanding of the nuances of our land. The vines line the Upper Wairau Valley from side to side, planted right down to the food of the Richmond Ranges and into the riverbed of the Wairau River. Varietals include Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and the regional favorite Sauvignon Blanc.
Marlborough has always been known for innovation. 8 years ago when the Forlong family first began planting there was great doubt that vines would ever thrive. Hillersden was a high risk endeavor but came with amazing wine making potential and possibility were we to succeed.
Growing at a higher-altitude than much of Marlborough, Hillersden experiences a unique sub-climate with the largest diurnal range of the region with many environmental challenges that have intimidated many from attempting that which the Forlong’s have taken on with such tenacity. Our crops mature at a slightly slower pace but come harvest provide the foundation for wines of good weight, minerality and complexity. Brisk, cold nights that tend to frost through the winter and early spring, balanced by welcome heat throughout the day in New Zealand’s ‘sunniest’ region, help us create wines of distinction.
Read about our innovations in sustainability here & check out the blog for live updates direct from vintage.