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The journey starts in the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington,
From there a picturesque drive through native bushes and the Rimutaka mountain range enters us into the land of Gladstone, Wairarapa.
Surrounded by panoramic view of the mountains luscious smell of the land,
it brings to the mind the scenery of the Fukiage-hama coast, the origin of NISHI SHUZO.
New Zealand is a small island country, boasting vast meadows and magnificent mountains. The key to the lusciousness of the New Zealand wines lies in this unique and vibrant nature. Vineyards in the country enjoy dry climate weather along with abundant exposure to sunlight, which increases the sugar content of the grapes, resulting in the highest quality fruit to produce the wines.
Although New Zealand has had a short history in winemaking, the quality of the New Zealand wines is highly recognized around the world and consistently earns top rankings at international wine competitions. Though New Zealand wines are steadily growing in numbers, it only accounts for 1% of the global wine production, as every single bottle of New Zealand wine is carefully handcrafted by small boutique wineries.
URLAR wines are especially rare among them. The certified organic grapes grown on well-drained Gladstone soil using Biodynamic principles are lovingly crafted into top quality wine, ready to be shared with you.
Our Passion & Dedication to our Land & our Vines
URLAR [pron. er-lar], The Earth in Gaelic. Our 31-hectare single vineyard located on ancient free-draining soils has appx 100,000 vines which when in full production will produce over 15,000 cases per year.
Our inter-row crop rotation maintains healthy soils full of life and biodiversity. Every year, one row in seven will be sowed in a variety of plants and beneficial flowers.
These flowers, such as buckwheat, lupins and phacelia provide crucial protection to the vineyard attracting beneficial insects that will kill off unwanted pests that can destroy the fruit and vines.
A good example of this is the Tasmanica Wasp which preys on the Leaf roller Caterpillar – a pest that causes harmful botrytis, a type of rot in the grape bunches.
For more information about biodynamics and certified organic practices in our vineyard click here.
As you pour this wine into a glass, an aroma of ripe but fresh berries permeates the air. Then a hint of clove, nutmeg and other spices appears along with a faint nuance of earth to enhance the savoriness. Its elegant palate is underpinned by very fine and velvety tannins and extensive flavors that linger long after swallowing. This wine is delicate, yet has great aging potential supported by its well-structured acidity.
An aroma mainly of ripe apple and citrus fruits emanates from the glass with a nuance of honeysuckle. A fresh almond flavor and a spicy touch of white pepper give complexity to the wine, while crisp mineral notes add depth of flavor. A mellow, fruity and savory taste with smooth acidity characteristic of the variety of grape lingers long after the wine is gone, ensuring its excellent aging potential.
After graduating from the University of Tokyo with a law degree, Kohei worked 11 years for financial sectors in Tokyo and London, where he became passionate in wine.
To pursue his dream of winemaking, his family moved to New Zealand, where he studied at Lincoln University, which is renowned as the oldest agricultural school in the Southern Hemisphere. There, he graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology with Distinction.
He worked in Russian River valley of California and Muddy Water/Greystone in Waipara to gain experience and knowledge, and found an ideal vineyard in a permacultual village to look after near Nelson.
He values working alongside the land and he has gained attention as a winegrower who manages the whole process from grape growing to winemaking himself At URLAR, he oversees the grape growing, winemaking and marketing as he delivers quality wines and the story of URLAR to the customers.
Yoichiro Nishi majored in Fermentation Science and Technology at Tokyo University of Agriculture. After graduation, he was engaged in distribution at a sake wholesaler. He presently serves as the eighth-generation owner of Nishi Sake Brewing Co., Ltd., which has a history of about 170 years. The company developed the Hozan brand with the single objective of making delicious imo(Sweet Potato)shochu. While preserving the tradition, he has endeavored to achieve a higher level of umami without being satisfied with the status quo. As a result, shochu produced by the company has earned international acclaim. At the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) 2014, its shochu product won a Gold Outstanding medal and a Trophy award, the top prize given in each category, for the first time as an authentic shochu product. In addition, the company itself was awarded as the best distiller in Asia, receiving the Asia Pacific Spirits Producer Trophy. Under the concept of "shochu production is agriculture," he puts the utmost importance on farming, cultivating different varieties of sweet potatoes in the company's experimental farm.
Jannine spent some time working in high-end restaurants and for food importers in Australia and NZ. Given the opportunity in 2003 to work a harvest in Hawkes Bay she then became enticed with wine growing. Several years were spent working international harvests in Burgundy, California, South Africa and Oregon while working at Ata Rangi in Martinborough as Assistant Winemaker. She completed her Post Graduate in Oenology and then left to work in Burgundy for the season of 2012 at Thibault Liger-Beliar. On return she moved to the South Island and spent three years at Pegasus Bay before heading to Australia to gain knowledge on methode champenoise wine production at Deviation Road, and returned to NZ and the Wairarapa where in 2017 she joined the team at URLAR.
Jannine and her partner have a block of land which they intend to build on and have a permaculture-based farm off the grid. She is a firm supporter of organic and local foods, community and hunting for deer and pigs. She is dedicated to producing high quality wines for URLAR and committed to evolving the style as the vines age.
A born and bred local. Bevan spent 4 years overseas before returning to study at Massey University, after graduating and working in finance decided to changed tack and work outdoors leading to him introduction to vineyards and viticulture. Subsequently he studied at EIT in the Hawkes Bay and graduating with a Certificate in Viticulture.
After working and managing in many different vineyards throughout the Wairarapa mostly through contract managing and using mostly conventional practices he joined URLAR in 2012 and have embraced organic management.
Gained a Certificate in Applied Organics and Biodynamics at Taruna College in Hawkes Bay. Committed to continue to produce high quality fruit through organic and biodynamic practices for URLAR.