Te Kano means seed in Maori and was chosen by The Lloyd family to celebrate NZ’s iconic kowhai tree. The lone surviving kowhai tree on the Te Kano Estate in Central Otago is known as “Old Man Kowhai”. He overlooks their newest vineyard site Northburn, above Lake Dunstan, which will offer its first vintage in 2019.
The other two vineyard sites, Jerome and Elisa, are named after much-adored Lloyd family members. All are under the careful guidance of Estate manager Nick Hunter, who ensures Te Kano’s approach to rejuvenating the land and creating a sustainable future through careful stewardship and a commitment to replanting is king.
Te Kano’s winemaker Dave Sutton started his journey as a viticulturist in both Marlborough and South Australia. He traveled around the globe to work for wineries in the United States, Chile, Spain, Germany, France, Ukraine and then back to Australia and New Zealand before joining Te Kano and the Lloyd family. His commitment to creating wines of layered elegance and sublime natural quality is unwavering.
Found at the extreme limits of winemaking, Central Otago is found at 44° and 45° south and is home to some of the most southerly vineyards the world has to offer. Boasting breathtaking landscapes and an extreme climate, the local economy has garnered global recognition for its merino wool. However, over the previous decade, the majority of land has been shifted away from pasture, to being under vine. In 1996 Otago only had 11 vineyards, while today the region has a legion over 100 strong. The incredibly balanced styles of wine that flow from the region aren’t something to be missed, with Central Otago being the first in the world to challenge Burgundy’s production of Pinot Noir.
Central Otago’s four primary sub-regions are Wanaka, Gibbston, Bannockburn and Alexandra. While all are situated relatively close together and each has the same stony free-draining soil base, their full profiles vary immensely, but are glacially derived and have rich deposits of mica and schist making it ideal for the production of Pinot Noir, which just happens to be 80% of the production there. The excellent drainage helps retain mineral richness whilst temperatures can vary from 30degrees during ripening days to only 8degrees overnight, this swift shift allows the grape ripening process to stop more suddenly overnight, thus retaining all the wonderful natural acidity and fruit concentration this region can offer, to us this provides Central Otago with an intensely fruit-forward character no other region of New Zealand can replicate. Autumn frosts are a risk here too, so it’s just as well the growers down here have their wits about them…