The Story of Renato Wines
Buying an orchard more than 20 years ago, Swiss and New Zealand citizen Renat Nussbaumer has developed one of the most scenic vineyards in the Nelson area. He is no stranger to wines, his family has owned a vineyard and produced wine in Switzerland for the past 40 years and relations in the Burgundy area of France provided him with the necessary knowledge. After immigrating to New Zealand in the early 1990s, Renat was looking for the ideal piece of land for several years until he found this spectacular section, a previous apple orchard, in 1998. In the following years an area of 8 hectares was planted in vines: Pinot Noir (Dijon and newer French clones), Chardonnay (Mendoza and Clone 15), Pinot Gris and Merlot. Sauvignon Blanc is grown in cooperation with other local vineyard owners.
The grapes of the Renao wines are mainly sourced from the 11 hectare section, located on the Kina peninsula in the Nelson region (top of the South Island). From this commanding location, the stunning views range from the Nelson Bay in the East and the Abel Tasman National park in the North to the Arthur’s Ranges in the West. This protected situation results in a climate with little rain during the growing season and 2500 sunshine hours per year. Day temperatures seldom exceed 30 degrees, while the sea breeze guarantees cool nights during the growing season and mild spring and autumn temperatures. The section is an ideal vineyard site, a warm north facing slope not only unique for its scenery, but equally for its micro climate and its clay-based soils of the Moutere area, resulting in highly aromatic wines.
Vineyard Management and Winemaking
Most vineyard work is done manually, vines are treated with utmost care. During the growing season, the canopy of the vines is managed with every attention to details. Shoots are carefully positioned and leaves around the grape bunches are removed, all to ensure maximum sunlight exposure of the ripening fruit. Grapes are hand-harvested at optimal ripening levels and cropping levels are very low with just 5 to 6.5 tons per hectare. All this results in fully ripe grapes with considerable flavour concentration and textural weight, the wines are reflecting the unique terroir and the abundant sunshine of the area. The white wines are whole-bunch pressed and undergo natural fermentation the maturation is done on a minimal intervention basis, while the reds are carefully destemmed and reach the fermentation tank without crushing the berries.
This philosophy guarantees that only the highest quality grapes, grown under the approved label of "Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand", are made into Renato wines. About 50 tons of grapes can be harvested in a good year, but only a small quantity of the best parcels of fruit are selected to be processed separately and matured to become the high quality Renato wines. The current release includes three award winning white wines (Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc), and two great reds (Pinot Noir and Merlot). They are all rated 4 Stars by <nzs most influential wine writer Michael Cooper. Since its first release in 2003, every vintage of Renato Pinot Gris has been awarded Gold (at Air NZ Wine Awards) or Silver medals and 4 - 5 Star Ratings, an accolade to their outstanding consistency in quality. Most other Renato wines have (in most vintages) scored at least 4 Stars or Silver medals at wine competitions and reputable publications such as Michael Cooper's Buyers Guide to NZ Wines, Bob Campbell's and Raymond Chan's Wine Reviews, Sam Kim's Wine Orbit, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Cuisine and Winestate.